I have a secret. It was once told to me, and I didn’t listen. But, as time often does, it repeated the matter, and I heard a faint whisper. Time continued, and again I heard it, a bit louder. Each time, the secret became clearer and began to take shape, forming a truth that I now know, understand, and believe.
A Special Relationship
In life we are sometimes gifted a special relationship that, at first, is taken for granted. It is not seen for the joy it was intended, because the other is so vastly different from us. I have one of these relationships. She is my sister.
We could not have been more different. She had blonde hair and I, brown. She was all giggles as I wore a serious pair of glasses and concern on my brow. She looked at the glass half full and always had hope for others, while I, acting like Ebenezer Scrooge, didn’t give much thought to others, for they were all incompetent.
She wore her feelings on her sleeve and voiced her opinions with respect to all. I was quiet, reserved, and kept things bottled up. Her room was a mess, while mine was spotless. As tweens and teens we didn’t get along. She tried, and I refused.
At one point, we shared a room, and I was sure this would be the death of one of us. How could two people be so opposite, yet related? And more importantly, how could we ever get along?
Well, we didn’t, not really. We grew, we fought, we made amends, we called a truce, and at times we even enjoyed each other. But for the most part, we were so different, we just couldn’t cross the divide.
I was often conflicted, for she aggravated me to death and yet, we were sisters, and family was important. I would stand up for her and defend her if anyone tried to hurt her, but at home I wasn’t very patient.
Relating When You’re So Different
Do you have a sister like this? So different, yet life has thrown you together. How do you relate and more than that, how do you have a relationship?
The secret is found in Scripture. In Philippians 2, Paul shares one of the most important aspects of being a Christian in the example of the humility of Christ and the extent of what He did to have a relationship with us. When I read through this chapter, it causes me to stop and reflect on how I relate to my sister.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Philippians 2:1-2
Be Considerate—of her individuality. Oh, that might seem hard, but Paul reminds us that nothing should be done through selfishness. So the next time you are interacting with your sis, find ways to treat her with more significance than yourself.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Let her speak and have the spotlight. Let her have first choice without passing judgment. Find ways to acknowledge her personality, talents, and abilities in a positive way.
Set Aside—When situations with your sis get somewhat sticky, and you believe you are in the right or you are frustrated and believe you deserve better, remember the example Christ gave us. Jesus, equal to God, set aside his rights and humbled himself to serve us. The next time conflict occurs, remember this and set aside what you believe you deserve, looking to serve your sister over being in the right.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7
When your sister asks to borrow, give. When she asks for help, aid her. When you see her struggling with something, jump in and find ways to encourage her, emptying yourself as Christ did for us.
Friends, even the best of them, will come and go, but the one relationship that will always remain is your sister. Through years of differences, disagreements, late night chatting, frustrations, giggles, heart-to-hearts, or even hurtful words, remember she will always be in your life.
The secret is to relate to your sister the same way Christ has related to you. Through humility, grace, and mercy Christ has sought you. Now, you can do the same for your sister.