July 26, 2021
You used to spend a big part of your day with your classmates and barkada. But because of the pandemic, you have no choice but to spend most, if not all, of your time at home with your family.
For those who get along well with their siblings, this might be a good thing. But if you’re among those who have a love-hate relationship with your siblings, the idea might be a nightmare for you.
It’s ironic that we sometimes find it easier to build close relationships with other people than with our very own siblings. In fact, there are those who are actually closer with their friends than with their siblings, even though they spend the majority of their time with their siblings.
Why do you think so?
In Luke 10:38–42, the Bible tells us the story of two sisters who had a bit of an argument about something that we all can relate to: household chores.
Jesus, a famous teacher in their time, decided to drop by their home. Martha, overwhelmed by the idea that an influential man was visiting their home, got very busy with all the preparations. Mary, on the other hand, decided to chat with Jesus, their guest of honor, instead of helping with the chores. This upset Martha so much.
This story is a treasure trove of wisdom that can also teach us lessons about how we relate with our siblings.
Sometimes, tensions and rifts between siblings are caused by our individual differences. Our different personalities, preferences, and responses can potentially create misunderstanding among siblings. Our relationship with our siblings can grow when we recognize our differences and choose the path of humility. How?
Reach Out. Building friendship with your siblings means intentionally spending time with them and knowing them on a personal level. You can start by deliberately doing ordinary, day-to-day things together, like doing household chores, watching movies, or trying out a new recipe.
One habit that I adopted during the pandemic is a nightly “watch party” with my sisters. We would talk about family concerns and pray before or after watching one episode of a drama series. Of course we enjoyed watching together, but the best thing is that I realized it was possible to set aside a block of time to be with them daily, no matter how busy I was that day.
On some days when our time is more limited, we spend it chatting and praying together instead. What started off as doing something fun together became a habit of making time to encourage one another and to pray for others.
Overlook Offense. If it’s possible on your part, do all that you can to live in peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). This includes your own siblings at home. Tensions, disagreements, and conflicts are inevitable, but we can make a conscious decision to be patient with one another’s faults (Ephesians 4:2).
Forgive. Not all offenses can be easily swept under the rug. Some are just too painful to overlook. Resentment tears relationships apart, but forgiveness can restore broken relationships. I pray that your experience of God’s grace and forgiveness will enable you to forgive others as well (Ephesians 4:32).
When God made a way for us to be reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:19), He did not allow our sins to define our identity. You, too, can choose not to let your siblings’ faults define who they are, knowing that God works on our character—both ours and our siblings’.
God has a purpose for our lives, including the family where He placed us. Part of His desire for us is to enjoy life-giving relationships with our parents and siblings. But since we live in a broken world, the sharp edges of our individual brokenness hurt our relationships.
If you’re a Christian, part of your mission is to be God’s agent of reconciliation in your own home. God loves your family so much that He placed you there to be a channel of His love, grace, and salvation to each of your family members.
If your siblings do not yet enjoy a relationship with Jesus, the best thing you can do for them is to embody Jesus’ love and to introduce Him to them, like Andrew did for Peter, his brother (John 1:40–42).
When our love for our own siblings is not enough to overlook their offenses, may God’s love for them compel us to love them, just as Christ chose to love us even when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
1 John 4:11
Photo by: Kiel Quismundo