I am the youngest of four brothers. I never knew my second oldest brother because he died from spinal meningitis when he was two years old. The remaining three brothers are six years apart which means each of us was raised almost like an only child for the first six years of their life.
I loved my two other brothers, but one of the negative outcomes of being raised six years apart was that we lived fairly independent lives from each other. There were infrequent phone calls between us, and neither of us knew much detail about what was going on in the other brothers’ lives. We might exchange a phone call every so often, and the humorous part was the call felt like we picked up from a conversation we had the previous day. Yet our typical conversation lacked specificity and depth.
Recently, my oldest surviving brother faced some serious medical issues. It looked bleak for a few days. Thankfully, he made it through surgery and is holding his own. But this near-death experience got me lamenting about how little I knew about my brother.
Romans 14:13 reminds us: “Therefore let us not be judging one another any longer, but rather make this your decision, not to put before a brother a stumbling block or a cause for tripping.”
As far as I know, I have never intentionally placed a stumbling block before my siblings. But as years advance and evening of death approaches an aging person, recent events with my brother causes me to add specificity and depth to whatever time we may have left.