by Kaitlyn R.
from Virtuous Daughters, June 2017~Volume 17, Number 2
We are faced with choices every day. From choosing what to wear in the morning or how to spend our free time, to how to handle a difficult situation at work or what to say to someone who is hurting. Cultivating relationships with the people God has placed in our lives is a choice. Just like you can’t have a healthy tree without tending it, you can’t expect to have good relationships without putting effort into them.
I would say that the greatest relationships you can invest your time in, other than your relationship with God, are those within your family. Of course, some people grow up in dysfunctional families where this is not possible, but overall, most of us have loving families who desire to build us up in Christ and teach us to serve God wholeheartedly.
As we look to developing relationships within our immediate family, namely our siblings, we must be careful not to let the world’s view influence our thinking. The world says that it doesn’t matter how you treat your siblings because life is about you and your happiness. This selfish view will lead to conflict and regret in years to come. God’s ways, however, are different than man’s ways. In Romans 12:2, He says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” When we choose to live differently than the world, we not only honor God, but also reap the blessings that these choices bring.
So I would encourage you to commit to developing that relationship with your brothers and sisters. You won’t regret it! Now is the time to begin. It only becomes harder as you get older. Galatians 6:7 aptly states: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” In other words, don’t expect to have a close, healthy relationship with your siblings down the road if you’re not willing to invest the time now. Going back to the tree analogy: it’s unreasonable for me to expect a bumper crop of apples or pears if I haven’t done my part of watering, fertilizing, and pruning in order to produce the desired outcome. The phrase, “All good things take work” applies to relationships too. We must recognize that close relationships are the result of intentional effort.
As a side note, to any young moms who might be reading this: parents play a huge role in healthy sibling relationships. My sisters and I wouldn’t be as close if it wasn’t for my mom’s diligent oversight and training. We owe much of our good relationships with one another to her vision and dedication to carrying it out. So, don’t lose heart when the child rearing seems difficult. It will be worth it in the end!
Part of growing in our relationships with our siblings is being authentic with them. Do we treat other people better than our own family? We all want to be on our best behavior when we’re around others. We want to impress them and put our best side forward. Often, this means hiding behind a mask or trying to be someone we’re not. Sadly, we lapse into speaking to our siblings with irritation or unkindness that we would never dream of using with a stranger or acquaintance. Our families deserve our best behavior, not our worst, yet sometimes, we treat them like they’re a bother or inconvenience to us. This stems from a lack of gratitude for the incredible blessing our families are. When we stop and think about it, we don’t deserve any of the blessings God has given us, including our parents and siblings.
As sisters at home, we have a special opportunity to invest in the lives of our siblings each and every day. This could be as simple as lending a listening ear, being interested in their lives, showing that they matter to you, playing with them, or encouraging them in the Lord. We want our siblings to see Christ’s joy and love flowing through our lives in all of our words and actions rather than the unlovely fruits of irritation, selfishness, and anger. Our mission field is right where God has placed us, and it’s sobering to realize how much our lives affect those around us. We may never know the impact we have on our brothers and sisters, but we can be sure that investing in their lives is storing up eternal treasures in heaven and building God’s kingdom. So, choose today to live for God’s glory by cultivating a relationship with the siblings God has placed in your life.
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