authentic brotherhood

What is authentic
brotherhood?

A friend loves at all times. A brother is there to help in times of adversity.

As a young man in King Saul’s court, David set himself apart by defeating Goliath. From that point on, in numerous victories over its enemies, David won the hearts of the Israelites and demonstrated that God was with him.

David had become such a hero that everyone expected him to marry into Saul’s family and inherit the kingdom. Everyone, that is, except Saul. Saul’s heart was set on making his son, Jonathan, king, and he was determined to keep David at a distance. On several occasions he tried to kill David.

Given this situation, we might expect Jonathan to take his father’s side against David. But God had a different design. Right after the death of Goliath, David and Jonathan became committed friends, true brothers. Scripture tells us: “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Saul’s murderous attempts could not overcome their brotherhood.

In brotherhood, Jonathan did everything he could to protect David from his father. Jonathan discovered his father’s plan to kill David, and then warned him of it. In parting Jonathan says: “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord.

When Jonathan was later killed in battle, David revealed how valuable his friendship had been: “My brother Jonathan, very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was wonderful.

In the same way, the Good Samaritan’s care for a stranger and foreigner were true signs of a brotherhood that surpassed religion, blood, and tribe.

Jesus is not just giving us a tale about being charitable. It is not even about going above and beyond to do good or to be loving. His call is much deeper, much more important. He is calling us to faithfully live out our humanity, to recognize and express the image of God that is within us. He calls us to authenticity.

Authenticity is the degree to which we are true to our baptismal commitment.

We yearn to be true to our baptism, but we can become mixed up and confused. We sometimes fail to recognize God’s spirit and call which He placed within us. Our souls constantly call us to become more like God, to grow closer to Him, and to exhibit His life in us by authentic brotherhood, but sometimes we ignore that call. When authentic we come to terms with being in a material world where we encounter external forces, pressures and influences that misdirect us from our call. To be authentic is to live in God’s model of brotherhood. This is true authenticity.