My siblings are some of my best friends. They definitely know me the best! They alone know that I very much dislike mayonnaise, that I did indeed just play that song a total of six times in a row, and that I used to have a stuffed animal dog that I named ‘puppy’ (very creative, I know), which I lost on an airplane. They have seen me at my best and my worst. We have had so many adventures together- from the fawn we found in the gutter once to the short film we are making together right now.
Yet our culture that we live in doesn’t think that the paragraph above is possible or enjoyable.
From the time we were born, my siblings and I were taught and trained to not argue, to be kind, to be loving to each other, etc. If we didn’t, there would be discipline. I remember the season, however, when I realized that our relationship could and should go even beyond that- and that it was my responsibility to make sure it did! I shouldn’t just wait for my parents or siblings to initiate a good relationship between us! What a wonderful realization that was. It has affected me in so many ways, resulting in the fact that I consider them some of my best friends.
And yet, don’t get me wrong! We argue. We get angry and annoyed and frustrated. We explode at each other unfairly just like any set of siblings. Our culture says that we should stop there, and that it is both natural and even healthy to strive against each other. But it isn’t! That is not the way God created us! It is the result of our sinful nature. God desires us to live in peace with each other and to be lights for Him by showing love to each other (John 13:35, Proverbs 17:1)! And because our culture doesn’t believe in siblings getting along, when they do see them–us–not only getting along, but as good friends, they will definitely notice and take note (Philippians 2:14-15).
Now, I must confess, I ran through this article many times in my mind and considered completely re-writing it! Sibling relationships are just such a big topic, and God has taught me so much in it that I am struggling to contain this to only an article and not a book or something larger. 🙂 I would encourage you, then, to research this topic for yourself! To see what the Bible says on such things as meekness, humility, love, and families…to seek God’s way in dealing with irritations, injustice, bitterness, or feeling like the relationship is one-sided.
I will leave you though, with a verse that my family and I has often gone back to:
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21 (NIV).
Again, there are so many truths to be learned from this short verse, but there is one in particular that has made an impact on me. Submitting to my siblings. I am the oldest kid in our family and I am not necessarily required to ‘submit’ to my siblings. Yes, to be meek and humble, but not to obey them or anything like that. But this scripture says that we should submit to each other- whether we are older or younger, whether we are right or not. And why should we do this? ‘Out of reverence for Christ.’ Not because our siblings deserve it, but because Jesus does, and because He asks us to be humble and meek. Remember the verse saying something along the lines of ‘do all things as if you were doing them for Jesus’? When we are humble and we choose to submit to each other, especially those who are the hardest to submit to (i.e. our siblings), we show that it is clearly for Jesus that we do it. Why else would we submit to our siblings? We also gain our siblings’ respect- they understand how hard it is to submit to them! And we also show our siblings our own respect and love for them and our own desire to have a good relationship with them. It shows those things in a way that nothing else will.
A family and a team of siblings has so much potential. But most of it is so sadly wasted in our culture! Will you and your family be the same? It is so easy to! But in God you have the power and potential for huge things!
Humbly in Christ,
P.S. Here are some good resources to start your search with, besides the Bible:
- The Pineapple Story by Otto Koning
- Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephan, and Grace Mally