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The Grand Principals - Brother Love

13 July 23

  What is brotherly love?

Brotherly love is the love for one’s fellow man as a brother and this concept is raised a multitude of times in the Volume of the Sacred Law. Parents experience a heightened sense of frustration when they hear their children arguing or fighting with one another, because parents expect their children to love each other. If you were a fly on the wall, you might hear a parent asking their child, ‘Were you loving your brother or sister when you were fighting with him, or her?’ The Great Architect has commanded us to love our neighbour – even when our neighbour is our enemy. How much more, then, should brothers and sisters have a deep and lasting love for one another?

Every Freemason is aware of the Three Grand Principles underpinning our Craft: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Having witnessed some very unpleasant scenes in lodge rooms I wonder if every brother truly understands what brotherly love means, and how it should be practice

Though the world is full of strangers, brothers and sisters come from the same womb and are brought up by the same parents in the same house. The bond that exists between siblings gives shape and form to the language of Scripture, where God com­mands believers to ‘love one another with brotherly affection’. Scripture goes on to say that we should ‘have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind’. The concept of brotherly love extends much further than brother loving brother. It includes sister to sister, neighbour to neighbour, race to race, even nation to nation. In its fullest sense it means that every human being should extend feelings of love and care, understanding and genuine concern for, and to, every other human being.

What a difference it would make if we would learn to view one another through the eye of our Creator. It is only when we learn to truly see our neigh­ bour as our brother, our sister, our equal, that we can begin to understand the meaning of love in all its fullness. To know and experience brotherly love we first need to learn how to love the various members of our own families. Unfortunately, in this present age, this is not always the case. Regrettably, a large number of families are dysfunctional, and I have spent a number of years working with these families and the results of broken relationships within them. Children are most often the ones who suffer the most, often having to be removed from the home and family for their own safety and wellbeing.

When families are broken apart, many members are left broken, bitter and filled with anger. These feelings may take many years to resolve enough for the person to begin to trust other people again and to build meaningful relationships. Unfortunately, this is only one of the many reasons why love for one another is not as prevalent in our society as it should be and for these reasons, we should be reaching out to love our broth­ers and sisters in the world around us. Our love for our neighbours should be greater than our love for ourselves.

Many people believe that the greatest words written about the nature of love are found in the first Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, in the Volume of the Sacred Law. It describes the nature of love as Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

These words are applicable to us all, whatever our race, or creed, and we would all do well to take our time in studying them, the full meaning of which could not be sufficiently revealed in a whole lifetime.

…brotherly love extends much further than brother loving brother. It includes sister to sister, neighbour to neighbour, race to race...

From the Grand Chaplain By RW Bro Bob Searle


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