Love one another with brotherly affection. Romans 12:10
Some years after the time of Nero, Rome was hit by an epidemic. A sociologist by the name of Rodney Stark studied this epidemic, and he reports that at one time 5,000 people were dying each day in the city of Rome alone. Many cities lost a third of their population to this epidemic, and some lost as many as two thirds.
Stark quotes a description of the heroic nursing efforts of early Christians from a letter of Dionysius, a bishop (circa 260). “Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing [thinking of] themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors, and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.”
In stark contrast, “The heathen behaved in the very opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treated unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease.”
When the days get darker, God says that we are to “overcome evil with good.” You do that by beginning with love, and it must be genuine. That’s what the early Christians did.
Where could you step out in faith and extend brotherly affection?