We love ‘em. We can’t stand ‘em. We live with ‘em every day. Siblings are a part of most of our lives, and as you probably know, they can get a little frustrating here and there.
But siblings are also wonderful companions and friends. So, as Christians, how can we get along better with our siblings? How can we get the most out of our relationships with them? And what does the Bible have to say about siblings?
Patience and Prayer
The key to getting along with our siblings is…
No surprises here. We need patience to get along with practically everyone. But as Christians, we have an added duty to be patient. Romans 15: 5 (NLT) says, “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus” (emphasis added). Patience and harmony is what we, as followers of Jesus, are supposed to do.
But being patient is hard!
Trust me, I know. I’m still working on the whole patience thing, myself. But here’s a little encouragement: “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need” Colossians 1:11a (NLT). You see that bit in the middle? “…strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the… patience you need.” God’s strength will help us be patient.
This isn’t very practical, though. How will God’s strength help us be patient? Good question. It has a very simple answer: prayer. Prayer is how God talks to us, how we talk to Him, and how we can gain patience in our lives. Again, I’m still working on this. But I’ve found so far that when I’m frustrated, taking a moment to pray really helps. Just ask God to calm you and help you work through the problem with love and grace.
What Siblings Are For
Now that we know how to be more patient with our siblings, I come to the second question: how do we get the most out of our relationships with our siblings? Again, the key is patience. Siblings can be amazing friends—if we put in the time and effort to be with them. It can be hard sometimes because with siblings… you’re with them all the time! But by “being with them” I mean actually spending quality time with them. Not yelling at them to get out of your room, not telling them to finish their writing homework, not avoiding them because your frustration is starting to build up. Just having fun with them.
Learn things from your siblings. Talk about weird ideas with them. Discuss your favorite books and giggle over the strange things you say and don’t be afraid to be a little silly. After all, that’s what siblings are for!
Last, but definitely not least, what does the Bible have to say about siblings?
Of course, we all know the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. Cain grew jealous of his brother Abel’s favor with God, though it was really Cain’s fault in the first place, because he wouldn’t bring the best of his harvest to God. Cain murdered his brother Abel, then claimed, “Am I supposed to take care of my brother?” Genesis 4:9b (NIRV). God never directly answered Cain’s question, but His rebuke still addresses it. “The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground.’” Genesis 4:10 (NIRV). Yes, we are supposed to take care of our brothers (and sisters). Our siblings are our responsibility: to care for, to love, to support. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 (NIV).
One of my favorite sibling stories is the story of Jehosheba and Joash. It comes from 2 Kings 11. Athaliah, the queen mother, saw that her son, the king, was dead. So she decided to kill the entire royal household of Judah so that she could remain in power. Jehosheba, the sister of the dead king, knew she had to do something. Her brother’s child, Joash, was in danger. “She stole Joash away from among the royal princes. All of them were about to be murdered. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. That’s how she hid him from Athaliah. And that’s why Athaliah didn’t kill him” 2 Kings 11:2b (NIRV). Jehosheba risked her life to save her brother’s son. Now that’s a loyalty we should all try to live up to.
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:20-21 (NIV).
So, next time you start to get annoyed with one of your siblings, remember that it is your duty to be patient. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you” Ephesians 4:23 (NIV). But more than that, patience with your siblings will bring you deeper relationships than you ever imagined. I honestly love being with my siblings. Though they sometimes annoy me, they also have so many insights and ideas that I never would have come up with.
God gave us siblings for a reason. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV). Dear Rose, ask God for patience with your siblings. Ask Him to help you enjoy your siblings. Spend time with them, and you will be rewarded with friendships that will last lifetimes.
Evangelyn is a fifteen-year-old homeschooled bookworm who loves to write. She wants to spread God’s love and joy through her writing, whether it’s an article or a fantasy novel. She loves to spend time outside, with her family, or curled up in a rocking chair with The Chronicles of Narnia books.