Thursday, September 20, 2007

Siblings: For Good or for Worse

Lofgren siblings, left to right, front: Ron, Maria, Elijah, Lydia, Michele, Luke; back: Miriam, Jubilee, Anna

Siblings. As the saying goes, sometimes "you can't live with them and you can't live without them!" They're the ones you're often closest to, for after all, you're stuck together whether you like it or not! They're your first playmates and your closest ally - but they can also at times be your worst foe. To them you show your warm affection... but they also see your greatest irritation. Through thick and thin, they're yours and yours alone, family.

So, how are we supposed to relate to these siblings of ours? Surprisingly, there's not much said specifically in the Bible about how to deal with brothers and sisters. You think there'd be more, what with all the big families in Biblical times! =) A lot is said about how to relate to parents and how parents should train their children, but there's no specific command that says, "Do this and you'll have great relationships with your siblings." If only it were that easy! However, part of the beauty of these relationships is that they're all different. The differences can lead to strife, but it can also lead to one of the closest and most cherished friendships, where the differences complement each other.

Truly, "how good and pleasant is is when brothers live together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1) However, just from looking at the sibling relationships displayed in the Bible stories, it becomes evident that this unity is hard to attain. Siblings have been fighting since Cain and Able and squabbling since before Jacob's sons. Is this how it's meant to be? Surely when Paul instructed us to "Treat younger men as brothers . . . and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity" (2 Timothy 5:1-2) he didn't mean that we should argue and fight among ourselves as Christians! As the New Testament time and again calls us sisters and brothers in the Lord, there must have been a good friendship in mind.

So, how do we get along with these special people God has placed in our lives?

With six siblings and two siblings-in-law each, we know what siblings are like - what a blessing and sometimes challenge they can be. Drawing from our experiences and things we've observed in others, we'd like to begin a series focused on siblings; in different posts, we'll share insights into how to relate to them, be they younger or older, sister or brother. Perhaps we'll even share snapshots and sibling stories of our own along the way.

As you read, however, make sure that you're aware of one thing: our families aren't perfect! We don't have the perfect siblings, and we aren't the perfect sisters ourselves! When writing, it's all too easy to focus on the good moments rather than the bad and view memories through rosy glasses. No, we don't have the perfect formula for happy relationships, but we have gleaned some insights along the way that may help you as you love your own siblings. And, as always, we'd like to hear your views and insights on siblings, so please share your tips and stories with us in the comments!

Together, we can learn from each other, as we seek to discover how to be a loving sibling. We want our influence to be for the better.

16 comments:

Rebekah S. said...

Miriam and Anna,
What a great idea!! I'm looking forward to your future posts on this very important subject! I am currently planning on writing articles on this subject as well for my future website(more on that later) and would love to share these with you if you would like to post them once they're done. If you would like to, just let me know and I will e-mail them to you once they are completed.

Have a blessed week, dear sisters in Christ!!
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

P.S. Thank you for sharing the picture with us!

Ella said...

Another needed reminderm gals. I only have one brither (and I wish I had more siblings) Yet I don't always act the way I know that I should. I often despair if anyone also struggles. However, when all is said and done, I am so glad that I do have Garrett in my life. I couldn't imagine our family without him; he is great fun to be around...when both of us are will to be sacrifical!

Miriam...we now need a photo of your siblings!

Sheila said...

*Sniff* Remember to include in this series, the blessing of siblings. Not all of us have the privilege of having them, and have often mourned for those special people we've never had in our lives. I often reminisce about the fact that I would have been the oldest child, and would have been the one to set an example, and I wish I'd had that opportunity. However, God's will didn't factor in siblings into my life, and here I am.

So: my point is, to all of you who struggle with siblings, be it rivalry, not being good enough, not getting to do things because there are too many of you or whatever it may be, remember that they are a blessing! I know I've had opportunities big family kids don't, but please consider what I've said. Thanks for listening. :)

In Christ,
Sheila

Anna S said...

I'm an only child, and I do feel this is missing in my life: having a close, warm relationship with your siblings. I hope, God willing, that my future children will have that.

Miriam said...

This looks like an interesting series! As one of your siblings, I want to say that I definitely see way more good than bad in having sibings. I can't imagine life without all of you. Siblings certainly make life richer! We've got a ready-made group of people to play games or talk to about anything!

Beverly said...

This looks like a promising series! I can't wait to read more.

Rebekah S. said...

Anna Naomi,

I'm having some trouble posting Maidens for Modesty pic on my blog. I used the url that you had on your blog page, but it didn't work. Maybe I was doing it wrong. Could you please e-mail me the correct one so that I can post that on my blog? Thanks so much!!

Rebekah
living_for_my_Lords_glory@hotmail.com (no appostrophe)

Rebekah S. said...

Sheila,

So true! We so often take for granted our siblings.

Ella,
I only have one brother as well and wish I had more siblings. I am so blessed to have Andrew, though! I used to find him annoying because he would follow me everywhere, but now I see him as a blessing from the Lord.

Luke said...

As your sis-in-law, Anna, I look forward to hearing fun stories about you all growing up. :)
I also have to say that I have been blessed tremendously by all of my "in-loves"!

Love ya,
Michele

Miriam Rebekah said...

Rebekah S,
Anna is out of town right now and I'm afraid I can't help you. :(
She'll be back tomorrow, though.

Yes, it will be interesting and fun writing these posts. My subjects (or victims) will be mostly brothers. :)

Rebekah S. said...

Miriam,

I had completely forgotten that she is out of town this week! Sorry! :) Thanks for reminding me!


Have a wonderful weekend,
Rebekah

Anna Joy said...

Siblings are the best!! ;) At times they might annoy you the most, but they are the ones you can always count on to be there for you, no matter what. I have four brothers and a sister....all waaaay older than me but still....!

Anna Naomi said...

Rebekah, I look forward to reading your website! I've emailed the picture code to you and hope that it works.

Ella, I agree! We first planned to post a picture of her siblings as well, but she didn't have one with them all together, so she'll share pictures later.

Shelia and Anna, it must be hard not having siblings. I'll probably post something about that in the series, though most will (obviously) focus on siblings! They are a real blessing.

Miriam and Michele, I am very thankful for you both, as well as all my other wonderful siblings!

Anna, yes, most of my siblings are older than me, but that can be fun as well!

Allison said...

Wonderful post! It's so neat to find like-minded people. Siblings are such a blessing to have; the more the merrier! I love to meet families with many children, demonstrating their desire to let God plan how many children they'll have. As the oldest of my family, I have more responsibility on my shoulders, but I love caring for my siblings! It's especially neat when my youngest brother (who's 3) "helps" me with chores and stuff. It's so sweet!

Bekah said...

Hey Ladies,
Great post!! My whole family and I are like best friends. Several years went by that none of us had any friends and we didn't have a Church near us to go to, all we had was each other. We became really, really close, within those years. Now my oldest brother works and of course so my does Daddy. A lot of the time it's just Mommy, my other brother, and I (we call ourselves the "3 Musketeers"). The Lord has led us to a Church now and we're making friends, but the three of us are still the closest!! They are such a blessing to me!!
BTW, I love your blog!!!! You girls are such an inspiration. I love all of the beautiful dresses that you make and wear, they're exactly the kind that I like!! God Bless!!
Bekah
P.S. Sorry this is so long!!