This is a personal story, something that I have learned—am learning—and hope can be of some help to those of you with siblings.
I hear about families of 6 or 8 or 20 and I marvel. I have a younger brother, Aaron, and I think that God knew what he was doing when he limited my sibling count to 1. I love Aaron to death, don't get me wrong, but there are times that I fail woefully at this older-sister business. There are times that I act, shall we say, superior?
Perhaps you share this problem of mine. If you've ever
- chastised your sibling for doing something you disapproved of
- felt slighted when your sibling didn't follow your orders
- nagged at your sibling when he/she was slow or inattentive
- gotten jealous when someone else monopolized your sibling
then you could be in the same boat as me. You're not being the sister.
It's remarkably easy to forget that God did not appoint us as our siblings' parents, spouses, or bosses. Older or younger, we're their sisters, no more, no less.
This is so hard for me. I feel a responsibility toward my brother, to "guide him in the ways of righteousness" so to speak. How many times have I given him that look of disapproval, the look that says, "Really, can't you do better than that?" More often than not I just use his name as a reprimand. "Aaron," spoken in a certain tone of voice, can mean everything from "You left your socks in the floor again" to "Why don't you respect me?"
Ouch. I'm ashamed to admit all that. But maybe some of you sisters—older sisters especially—can identify with these feelings?
Over the past year I have become aware if how very wrong I've been for so long. I'm surprised that my brother still talks to me, after the way I've treated him for so many years. I'm really blessed by his forgiving spirit.
How does God call us to act toward our brothers and sisters? This ties in with Kyla's last post. We are called to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven each of us. This is the calling that every Christian has to one another, but siblings have a very special relationship that should definitely be shaped by love. Sometimes it's appropriate to lead your siblings, instruct them, warn them, etc., but our roles as sisters are so unique and so precious that they should never sullied by prideful attitudes of dominance or superiority. God forbid we ever make our siblings into the enemy.
You have an opportunity to be a friend to your siblings, a friend like they'll never find anywhere else. It's a daily struggle for me to swallow my older-sister-attitude and try to enjoy my brother for the wonderful boy he is—without trying to change him. That is the road I am called to walk. It's also the road that leads to late-night giggles over hot chocolate, lots of loud singing, and fantastic memories.
Trust me, it's better this way.
Question: Do you ever find it hard to be the sister?