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Proverbs 17:17 – A Powerful Scripture about Brotherhood

Brotherhood is solidarity

All people have an innate desire to belong. For some of us, that means joining a team, or being part of a community. For me, brotherhood has always been my highest ideal.

I am inspired by few things. I’m not the sort of person who needs a pump-up song to get things done or feel motivated. I have always believed that a person should be internally motivated. I have always believed that each of us are–or should be–driven by our own metronome to get things done and live life the way we see fit.

Still, what is a life without values bigger than ourselves? I’m not religious, but I have always had the sense that we should gain the majority of our experience by observing others. We don’t have the time or opportunity to make all of our own mistakes. If we made all of the errors we’d need to gain experience, we’d never achieve anything meaningful.

Living Well Simply because It’s Right

All of the above leads me to read The Bible. Again, I’m not religious. I was raised to be religious, but I suppose it never really stuck. For whatever reason, it always seemed cheap to me that a person should feel compelled to be good just so they could go to Heaven rather than be doomed to Hell. That seemed like a copout.

A good person chooses to be good because they’re good, not because they’re promised eternal salvation, right? Just as you don’t have to convince the Sun to rise each morning, a good person just endeavours to leave the world a little better than how they found it. After all, life doesn’t need to be complicated.

Proverbs about Brotherhood

If I’m not religious, then why do I bother with my King James Version? Why even flip through the pages if I’m not trying to find a higher order to the world?

The simple answer is that I think there are plenty of bible verses worth reading. Wisdom? Absolutely. Though, I suppose that depends on how you apply it. Most great texts have been used both to enrich and to enslave.

This leads me to today’s subject:

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

I’ve been chewing on this one for years. To me, as a brother and friend, it is the single most significant verse in the bible.

It really says it all, doesn’t it?

What is Friendship?

Each of us face the world on our own. We have to get ourselves out of bed in the morning, brush our own teeth, and look into our own mirror. At the absolute base, no one can compel us to be who we are.

Some say that we are defined by the five closest associations we have. What this means is that each of us are an aggregate, an average, of the five closest friends we keep. Financially, emotionally, we will not rise above (or sink below) the company around us. This suggests that we should both make the best friends possible that suit our needs and/or shed those we already have which no longer meet the goals we aspire to.

How lofty. How noble. If only we were all so dignified. What of loyalty? What of the past? Maybe nothing, I’m not sure, but I don’t think it is all so simple.

What is Brotherhood?

When thinking about Proverbs 17:17, there is one aspect that gets me hung up. I mean, it really gets me hung up.

It doesn’t say that a brother is born to assist with adversity. No, and it doesn’t say that a brother is born to help his brothers no matter what. It literally says that a brother is born for adversity. Yes, for adversity. A brother is born because there will be dark days, because there will be tough times, because the wolf will be coming to knock and blow the house down.

A brother doesn’t ask why hard times have come. A real brother knows their only reason for existing is because their brother is going to need them. They will. No matter what, none of us ride all the way through a full life without facing adversity. We all will. That’s what a brother is for. That’s why we’re here and it’s what we do. We’re born for it.

That’s what Brotherhood is.

A brother doesn’t shy off the plate when the pitch comes in too close. A brother doesn’t ask why dark clouds are swarming. They just say, “Yeah, I’m here–no matter what.” It’s not about grandstanding or making a show of it. They’re just there. They don’t worry about the reasons, they’re just in your corner–and you know it.

My Reasons for Writing this Now

Suffice it to say that I have been tossing around these ideas for quite some time. I have been pondering my own mortality and my spot within all of life. Not because I’m morbid, but truly because I am deliberate about these matters all on my own.

Nevertheless, I met my brother and his wife by happenstance this evening at a restaurant and enjoyed their company. Why shouldn’t we? What else is there?

In any event, it led me to ask myself the macro questions of life. It led me to thinking about Proverbs 17:17, which in so many ways is the only verse we ever really need to understand in order to live a full life.

Sitting there this evening, I realized that I know exactly what it means to be rich.

Final Thoughts on Brotherhood

What is a friend, but a brother? What is a brother, but a friend? Be both.

You get the opportunity to demonstrate this over the course of many years. It’s in everything you do.

Be there for the people that matter to you. Always.


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