The Gift of Siblings*
by Tiffany & Brittany S.
from Virtuous Daughters, October 2003~Volume 3, Number 7
Several years ago, I was praying for a friend. A like-minded friend who lived right down the street, had the same beliefs and convictions as our family, had the same amount of siblings…you know, that “perfect friend.”
God showed me that He had provided me with the “perfect friend” a long time ago. While He is to be my ultimate Friend, He has blessed me with three wonderful brothers, one lovely sister, and precious parents. These were and are to be my best friends. And they are! I realized what God was trying to show me and worked to strengthen our relationships…what a beautiful, wonderful and neat thing!
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” I couldn’t quite figure out what this verse meant until I was flipping through the pages of a Christian magazine for young ladies. The lady writing on this verse explained that it didn’t mean that a brother was born to cause adversity, but to be there in times of adversity. Wow! Was I overjoyed! Not only did it open my eyes to what the verse means, but it reminded me that God knows what He is talking about- we need to just trust Him.
Although my siblings and I still bicker, fuss at each other, and argue at times, we are best friends. And, while I speak from some experience, I have made mistakes too. I have said things that were not necessarily kind. I have selfishly made the wrong choices. But Christ has continued to bless our friendships and helped me overcome some of the struggles that I have had. He will help and guide you, too, if you just pray and ask for His help.
Now for a practical tip... :)
Listen. One of the best things that my father has done for me, I believe, is listen to me. His listening was (and is!) an encouragement to press on in the work I was encountering. And the motivation I received from his interest helped lead to this newsletter, the publishing of my book, and countless other projects I have been involved in. You see, when we listen to others, we are communicating value to them. They feel love and accepted when we listen and are interested. Have you ever had a conversation with your brother while at the computer like the following:
Your brother: Guess what, I’m almost done with the boat model I was working on.
You (not looking up from the screen): Wow; that’s neat.
Your brother: It’s been taking me forever to make it, and I’m so excited it’s almost done. But the left sail is somewhat awkwardly facing backwards…
You (still typing while he’s talking): Yes. Oh, I see. Hmm. That’s really nice.
Your brother’s still talking so you interrupt...: That’s really great, but I’m really busy, so do you think that you could please tell me later about your, what was it you’re doing again? I mean, never mind, just please tell me later. Thank you!
Your discouraged brother wearily walks away, feeling rejected and un-valued.
While you may think the conversation was funny, this is no joke! I’ve done it myself, and while my brother is going out of the room, I feel suddenly guilty and just feel bad that I would ever treat my brother in such a way. Would I treat my friend that way? And my brother is my best friend!
I have honestly found that listening to my siblings and being interested (even if I wasn’t before) will communicate so much love, acceptance and value, that they are practically hopping away when the conversation comes to an end. And when Daddy listens to me and is interested by asking questions or comes up with solutions to predicaments, I am practically hopping away as well. :)
Do you remember some of the character traits of love (charity) found in 1 Corinthians 13? “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…” (verses 4-8)
Love is always thinking of others in place of itself. Can we demonstrate this quality by listening to our siblings when they have something to say? Don’t be busy, and if you are, if it’s possible, stop being busy J, look at your sibling in the eye and listen. They’ll just love it!
There are many other ways to strengthen the relationship between siblings, and listening to their opinions, ideas, stories, and dilemmas is one of them. Even if you can’t quite make out all that the two year old is trying to explain :), listen, and as a second mile, be interested.
I would like to encourage you to make your siblings your dearest friends. Friends will come and go, but siblings will always stay. Yes, you may move away from them some day, but the relationship built on the solid rock of Jesus will always be there! At times you may feel that you “just can’t get along,” but God knows your situation, and He wants you to make your siblings your best friends!
I like to play with Gideon and I like to play with my brother Justin and I like to play with Tiffany. I like to play with Ethan. My brother Gideon and I like to play together a lot. We like to hike together and we like to play house. We like to play a lot of stuff together. I like to play other things with Gideon. I really like having brothers and a sister. They’re really nice. And I like to do things for my brothers and sister. I make my brother hot cocoa. I give him candy when he gets hurt. I help my brother Justin with his chores and I help Tiffany clean our room.
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