Most of us were learning to talk at about the same time we were learning to walk.  Now, we can do one as readily and as automatically as the other.  We have long since mastered the fine art of verbal communication.  It is a part of our daily experience that is almost as natural as breathing.  But despite this fact, there are still some words that we have difficulty saying – not because they are hard to pronounce, but because they have an emotional content that is hard to handle.

For example, some people find it very difficult to say, “I love you.”  It is not because they are lacking in affection.  They may actually be very loving people who simply have difficulty  giving verbal expression to that feeling.  Three little one-syllable words, and yet some people find it impossible to ever say them aloud.

Another simple sentence that is hard to say is, “I am sorry,” or “I was wrong,” or “Please forgive me.”  Of course, if we are talking in a general sense, they are fairly easy to say.  But when we get specific, then it becomes more difficult.  If we are talking about some particular attitude or action by which we showed ourselves to be both selfish and stupid, then it is a hard thing to say, “I am sorry,” or “I was wrong.”

But I would like us to consider two other words which may be even more difficult to say.  For some reason, we at times cannot bring ourselves to say, “my brother” or “my sister”.

Most of us, perhaps all of us, have a similar problem.  There are certain people or groups of people whom we have great difficulty owning as brothers or sisters.

Why is it that those two words are sometimes so hard to say?  Perhaps it is that they concede a kinship.  Underneath the skin, we are all very much alike, with similar potentials for good and for evil.  That is why we need to learn to say “my brother” or “my sister”.  Those two words are often hard to say, because they concede a kinship of which we are not proud.  But they need to be said, because God made us to be brothers and sisters in His image.

Jesus made it very clear that this was His attitude toward every person on earth.  In His parable of the last judgement, He looked on all who were hungry, thirsty, naked, lonely, sick, or in prison and dared to call them His  brothers.  It was this spirit that sent Him forth “to search out and to save that which was lost.”  If you and I ever learn  to say “my brother” or “my sister” to everyone we meet, we will find ourselves involved in the same kind of ministry.

Let that be a good place for all of us to begin, by learning to say those two words, “my brother” or “my sister” to everyone we meet.