The relationships between brothers and sisters are tricky for most humans. We are connected by blood, by proximity, by parents, and often by little else. We know we are to love and respect each other. We feel a responsibility to defend and protect, but we often view siblings as adversaries, competitors in a familial Olympics of sorts. But we are put in families with brothers. We have sisters. Shouldn’t we relate to them in positive ways?
To further complicate these issues, we have an image of the church as a family. That means that for most of us, we think of our fellow church goers as brothers and sisters in Christ. (This was intimidating for me as a young boy. There were people in our church who were called Brother Grim and Sister Thrillkill.) So, how should we relate to one another? Can we get along?
- Those who do the will of God are brothers and sisters of Christ (Matthew 12.50). If we are united in doing what God calls us to do, we are family- in the best possible way.
- We are responsible for the well-being- physical, emotional and spiritual- of our brothers and sister. When God asked Cain about his brother, Abel, he did not have a good answer. His response was to pretend not to know Abel’s whereabouts (Genesis 4.9). Obviously, God’s will is that we take care of one another.
- We are to love our brothers and sisters. The Great Commandment in the Scripture is that we are to love our neighbors (also known as the “Golden Rule”). Certainly family members and church members qualify as our neighbors. Love everyone (Matthew 19.19).
- Put the interests and well-being of your siblings ahead of your own (Philippians 2.3). We can celebrate the victories of those we love and support.
Many of us have been blessed by God with brothers and sisters. All of us have the benefit of a church family. How great life will be when all these relationships are in line with God’s plan for our lives. Join me in being the best brother (or sister) that you can be whether familial or spiritual.