Call them brother

As the provider” consistently view and call the receiver” a brother or friend. How you label your relationship to another person controls how you think and behave toward him.   You do not want to come on to the receiver as being superior. Note the passages below. Notice what Jesus starts calling the disciples in John 15:12-17 (NASB).

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another”

If Jesus called his disciples friends, how dare I assume a prideful title!

Here are some common terms that are problematic.

  • Discipleship Has a Teacher and disciple(s).  That is a superior to an inferior relationship. It is not friendship or brotherhood. Yes, we are to make disciples but that is not a license to look down on those we help. To look down on someone is prideful. Pride is not a Christian virtue. 
  • Mentoring Has the mentor and the mentored. Again it is a superior to an inferior relationship, not a friendship.
  • Training Has a trainer and trainee, Yet again it is a superior to an inferior relationship, not a brotherhood.
  • Pastor In my sub-culture, that term often signals a paid superior. Which is a privileged relationship, not a friendship or brotherhood. If in another culture pastor” means the servant of those in his charge then that term is biblical. See 1 Peter 5:1-4.
Each man in the relationship often has a different term for it. Those terms may change over time. That change will signal changes in the relationship.
Let the younger receiver call you and your relationship what he will. That is his freedom.  You as the older person should consistently use brother” or friend” of the other person. Hopefully, your relationship will mature to the point that he will you call you friend or brother. 
Both of you should ponder and apply Matthew. 23:8-12. (NASB).
  • “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Example of using “brother”:

An actual dialog I recently had:
  • Him: I am glad I have you as a mentor.
  • Me: I love having you as a friend and brother.
  • Him: I love it when you call me that. 

So truly see your service (ministry) to younger men as both friendship and brotherhood. Do not view yourself as a father figure. 

 Stick figure brother with arm around brother
This even applies to bad guys.

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