Matthew Henry on Our Lack of Love
Repent for the lack of love you have displayed toward your brothers and sisters. Confess with sorrow the times you have not lived in peace with your relatives, neighbours, and friends. Seek God’s pardon for the times you have treated them unjustly.
We have been very guilty in our relationships toward our brothers and sisters. We have not studied carefully the things that make for peace. We have failed to maximize our use of the ways we might build them up and encourage them. (Gen 42:21; Rom 14:19)
We have been ready to judge our brothers, and to regard him as though he were of no value to us. We have forgotten that we will all soon stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Contrary to the royal law of love, we have been puffed up and proud. We have been rude and sought our own advantage above the wellbeing of others. We have been easily provoked. We have rejoiced when others have fallen into sin, and been secretly glad at their calamities. (Rom 14:10; 1 Cor 13:4-5; Prov 17:5)
We have an insatiable desire for recognition among men. We have provoked one another, spurring others on to sin. We have envied the gifts or positions of others when we should have been considering ways in which we could promote our brother. We have failed to encourage one another in love and good works. (Gal 5:26; Heb 10:24)
Our heart of compassion has been shut up so that we have shown no sensitivity toward people in real need. We have insulated ourselves from any awareness of the needs of our own flesh and blood. At times we have looked with an evil, resentful eye toward our poverty-stricken brother. We have even despised the poor. (1 John 3:17; Isa 57:7; Deut 15:9; James 2:7)
Wherever we have wronged our brother or taken advantage of him, show it to us that we may correct our faults. If we have trod on our brother because of our pride, or if our feet have walked in deceitful ways, lead us into a path of humility, truth, and true servanthood. If any sin has left a blot on our dealings with others, uncover it so we may make amends and do it no more. (1 Thess 4:6; Job 31:5, 7; 34:32)
[Excerpted from A Way to Pray.]