"In honour giving preference to one another."
Text: Romans 12:10b
UNSTABLE HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
From the earliest times, the Scriptures note that good human relationships are difficult to maintain. Even in the best of families, human relationships soured badly (Cain and Abel; Esau and Jacob etc). Few families experienced stable relationships! In the background, many countries waged war (Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome etc.). Human beings have never been able to have sustained good human relationships.
WHAT ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CHURCH?
Paul knew only too well that the church was not spared difficulties. If the church was to enjoy good and strong relationships among its members, they would have to work at it. His first appeal was to promote the practice of genuine brotherly love in the Church (Romans 12:10).
There were obvious tensions between the Jewish and Gentile believers in the church. Racial, cultural, language and personal differences bring added stress and strain to human relationships- even in the context of the church!
FINDING AN ANSWER
Paul’s answer was to suggest that believers practiced “brotherly love”. Let us look at the full text.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love,
in honour giving preference to one another.”
That Paul addressed the matter of relationships is obvious. Note the expression “to one another”! Twice Paul employed this phrase to draw attention to the subject of “human relationships”.
1. The phrases “be kindly affectionate” and “brotherly love”
a) Both share the same root word “brotherly love” (“philadelphia”),
b) In other words, Paul was simply emphasizing “brotherly love” by repeating himself!
c) This phrase emphasizes the emotional aspect; there must be a deep and genuine feeling of love for each other.
2. The practical expression must be given appropriate consideration and application
But genuine brotherly love is much more than having good feelings. There must be appropriate practical expressions too.