If you were to accidentally pick up a diamond in its’ natural setting, you would probably throw it down and continue on your way. Why? Well, though diamonds are beautiful and extremely valuable, they are hidden in a dusty, dirty rock. Only skilled laborers can chisel away the rock and reveal the treasure hidden inside.
This is how we can view our relationship with our younger siblings. So many young ladies see an annoying little brother or pestering sister as an obstacle to shove away. Sadly, they fail to realize the jewel that they just put aside. This relationship can be cultivated and filled with love, creating a beautiful friendship that you have never seen before.
Did I just say that brothers and sisters can actually be “friends”? Oh yes! The Lord has given us this opportunity for a wonderful relationship with our siblings but if we do not heed this gift, we can lose out on one of the greatest joys of our life. It is so sad for me when I see an older sister neglect or push aside the life of her younger brother or sister as if they were just an annoying person that they happen to be related too.
“Well,” you may think, “I’m not that bad! I am nice to my siblings and we get along pretty well most of the time.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a “good enough” sister. Some recent events in my life have suddenly come up and have shown me how fleeting this life is (it is as a vapor, according to James 4:14) and how short our days truly are.
I do not want to settle for less in my relationship with my twelve year old brother. I want to be a Godly influence in his life. I want to be a close and trusted friend. I want to be a source of love and encouragement to him and to be a tool for the Lord in his life that will pour into his heart that which he needs to be a Godly man.
Our younger siblings look up to us. They see what we value and often imitate us, and by living Godly lives we can help them to live for Christ. We are not to only love in word, but also in deed, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” – 1 John 3:18. Here are a few ways that we can cultivate this beautiful relationship with our younger siblings…
Pray for them – We must pray that they seek the Lord daily and that they will love Him with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” – Matthew 22:37. Pray that they will daily be in His Word, and that He will grow them into Godly men or women. Also pray for your relationship with them, asking the Lord to show you ways to encourage them.
Be involved in their life – If we want our younger siblings to know that we love them and desire to have a true friendship with them, we can’t just simply say something nice and then walk away to go do something we enjoy. By spending time with them, doing what they like to do, we can show them that we truly mean what we say when we tell them that they are a gift in our life, even if it means sacrificing our own personal pleasures. We must do this with a cheerful heart, not with a grudging, selfish attitude, and they will see that we truly do desire to spend time with them and begin to cherish our friendship. By putting them off, or deeming their ideas or play as “silly”, we can give them the feeling that they really are not important to us and that what they value is dumb. When we are involved in their interests, we can exhibit to them that we truly believe they are important and a treasure in our life and that their ideas are valuable. Whether it is sitting on the floor playing legos, baking cookies together, or helping them with their school work, we can show how much they mean to us by simply spending time with them. And as we do this, we can begin to see how much our younger siblings really do mean to us and that they truly can be our best friend! I value my younger brother’s advice and opinion and truly want to know what he thinks about certain things. I can feel that when I am finished working on a project with him, or spending time together, he has a more gentle and compassionate spirit, and is not as quick to become frustrated. By investing our time and heart in our sibling’s lives, we can truly make a difference.
Let them Lead – Being the eldest child, I have an annoying habit of being bossy. It just feels natural for me to tell my brother to “do this” and “do that”. But through nagging him, I only sow seeds of resentment and frustration. I also give him the impression that only I know what is best. What would happen if I lower my selfish will and let my brother lead? The Lord has recently shown me that I need to be gentle and allow my brother to be the choice-maker sometimes. Instead of me saying “Lets’ do this… I think that it is the best way,” I can say, “Hey, what do you think of this idea? Do you think that it will work?” By changing how we approach our younger siblings, we can challenge them to be responsible and feel important and not just little annoyances bothering us.
Encourage them – Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” When they are working on a project, helping us with something or having a hard day, an encouraging word (not just flattery) can bless them and help them. I know that when someone encourages me and reminds me of how much the Lord cares for me, I feel joyful and glad … so why would we not want to share this love with our siblings? They truly appreciate when we see their work and acknowledge how well they are doing, or when we stop to ask them if they need help or just someone to talk to. Ultimately, it is a heart issue. If we do not have the love of Christ in our hearts, than we cannot live out what Christ has called us to be as sisters. Yet if we live in His love, and seek to glorify in Him in every aspect of our life, we can be a blessing and joy to our siblings, and be a tool for the Lord in their lives by pouring mercy, patience, selflessness, and love into their life and our friendship with them. We can have a beautiful friendship with our younger siblings, yet only through growing it by the grace and mercy of Christ. Let us start today by asking for His strength to be Godly sisters!