When my youngest was born, her older sister wasn’t too happy. She certainly had moments when she was intrigued by this new little person, but a new sister meant that life would never be the same. She now had to share everything… mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, time, attention, toys, etc. This new sibling brought a lot of big changes to her world.
For the first couple of years, my oldest struggled to adjust. Her younger sibling cried a lot and needed a lot of my attention. I knew that one day she would see the benefit of having a younger sister. They would grow up together, be each other’s best friend, laugh with one another, and lean on each other through tough times.
As a mother, I would think about the day when they would be bridesmaids in each other’s weddings or when they would call each other as adults for advice. Isn’t this what we all want for our kids?
But ultimately, it is up to them as to how their relationship will grow. As sisters, the relationship is sort of “built in.” They have no choice but to live together for the first 18 years of their lives. No matter what, they will understand each other in a way that no one on earth will understand. They will have had the same parents, the same upbringing… But as they mature, they must choose to nurture this “built in” relationship.
If they let disagreements or jealousy get in the way, they could be missing out on the amazing gift of living life with one another. No outside friendship could ever come close to the potential friendship these two girls could have if they so choose. They are sisters, and nothing can come between that.
In the eyes of God, we are all His children. When we choose to live for Him, we are adopted into His family, and that makes us brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, there will be certain siblings we get along with better than others, but God’s desire is that all of His children lean on each other for strength and support. It’s the same desire I have for my daughters… that nothing will ever come between them… that they will always have each other.
The Bible tells us that the world will know we belong to God by our love for one another. (John 13:35) In other words, they will know that we are a family (with God as our Father) by the fact that we love one another unconditionally.
So how do we keep peace with one another and love each other unconditionally?
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. – Ephesians 4:2-6 (NLT)
We are one family of believers. It may be difficult to see that sometimes with so many churches and denominations; but in the end, we all have the same Father. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Period. And just like I tell my girls to work out their differences and to find a way to get along, God calls us to do the same. Why? Because it’s what’s best for us.
My daughters have the opportunity to experience a life-long best friend – one who understands them better than anyone else – we have the same opportunity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are related in the Spirit, by the blood of Jesus… it’s an intimacy that we can only experience with those inside of the family of God.
We are called to make every effort to keep peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
If I’m truly being honest, it is so much easier to cut ties with someone who has hurt me than to find a way to bring restoration to the relationship. Now there may be times when you’ve done all you can do, and the other party isn’t willing to do their part to bring peace to the situation. But am I willing to do all that I can on my end?
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
Notice how very command listed above is relational.
God’s desire is that we would grow up and mature with one another – that we would learn from each other and call on each other for godly wisdom and support. He knows that as life gets more difficult, we will need each other to survive. If all we have are broken relationships, then we have a tough and lonely road ahead of us.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the gift of family – not only in my physical life, but also in my spiritual life. Help me to nurture the relationships you have blessed me with, and help me to be the kind of sister I need to be to those around me.