"In the same way, each of us will be either a 'polluting influence' or a godly influence to those around us. God desires that we spread the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go. We want to saturate our community with the fragrance of Christ. Our godly attitudes, purity, and willingness to stand for Christ will spread His fragrance. Just as my bag spent it's time sitting next to mothballs, so we want to spend our time with Jesus. If we are abiding with Christ and His Word, His fragrance will automatically flow from us."
While this quote does not directly relate to making your brother or sister a best friend, I feel that it does possess some coherance, in the context of the big picture. If you take a step back and look at the big picture of your relationship with your sibling, you can make the connection between "saturating the community with the fragrance of Christ" to saturating your sibling relationship with the fragrance of Christ. With Jesus Christ as he heart and focus of a relationship, love for one another will stronger than ever! Just as we want to be a "godly influence to those around us", all the same, we should strive to be a godly influence to our siblings as well...
"As Sarah, Stephen, and I are growing older, our relationship is changing. We used to play Legos and games together, but now we like to talk, laugh and do projects together. We haven't drifted apart because of our own separate friends, interests, and schedules. No, our relationship stays strong...If we can learn to love and work well with our families as we're growing up, it will help us when we need to get along with other people in life." Pg. 69
My mom and I have talked many times about not letting our schedules get so busy that we don't have any time to invest in our siblings. I know that it is very easy to get wrapped up in personal interests and activities...and, when you're struggling with getting along with a sibling, "running away and hiding" in your personal interests and activities is the perfect solution - at least that's what we're tempted to think.
A helpful relationship strengthener, is to find an area of interest that you and your sibling(s) share...for our family that is animals:) Most of us really like goats, and so we do barnchores 2x a day together, we prepare them for a show and show them together, and everything that we do for goats and animals is TOGETHER!! We have learned how to work together - though we're still working on communication between some of us. This year Abigail is joining Josh and I in showing hogs...we do that project TOGETHER which makes it so much fun!!! We work through the rough spots together, compile our notebooks together, laugh and talk while we work together etc. 4-H has been a great resource for our relationships.
Another idea is reading. For a while Josh read the Hardy Boys to Caleb and Abigail and every afternoon they looked forward to it! Every afternoon before rest time, we read books to Anna and Natalie - they LOVE it!!!
I encourage all of you to find a COMMON AREA OF INTEREST and invest in that interest...maybe it is animals, maybe it's some sport, maybe it's cooking. Your siblings will really enjoy the time that you invest in them.
It is so easy to look at the small picture and what is going to affect us now. It's so easy to say "my sister/brother absolutely hates me so why would I even try to work on our relationship" but in the long run, your siblings are going to be around you for pretty much forever and a life with love is way more enjoyable then a life with hate. My Dad always told my sister and I, "Friends have an end, but sisters (or brothers!) are FOREVER." In the long run, your hard fought fight to have a good relationship with your siblings is going to pay off and you will have some of the best friends of your life.
The big picture includes three things to focus on:
#1. Cleanse Your Life "One essential step in seeking God's best is to get rid of any "polluting influence" that you are allowing in your life or home or family". (p.66) This would be getting those things that are hurting your relationships such as corrupt music, bad books, friends that are causing you to take too much time away from your family, etc.
#2. Spend Time with the Lord and His Word. By spending time in God's word and talking to Him, you will glean wonderful encouragement and learn how better to love your siblings. Plus, why wouldn't talk to the King of Kings if you had the open invitation?
#3. Submit to Your Parents "Parental authority is a concept that most people to not seem to grasp. One of the main things that people have difficulty understanding about authority is that it is a GOOD thing, not a BAD thing." (p. 69)
Parents are a wonderful authority that God has given us. If we submit to them, we may learn more about our family and how to treat them."You can only see up to the next bend and you don't know what is ahead.
"From the sky you can see the whole river and where you are going, but from down below you can only see the next step. We need to look at our life from God's perspective. Sometimes we only know the next task or the next step, but the Lord has a much bigger plan in store for us." (p. 80)
The Benefits of Being a Good Brother or Sister:
- You will bring honor to your parents.
- You will have a good (powerful and effective) testimony to others
- You will be laying a godly foundation for generations to come
- You will get more accomplished (because you will have cooperation instead of conflicts)
- You will experience a peaceful home
- You will be building vital character traits of godliness in your life
- You will have excellent preparation for your future marriage and ministry
- Your investment in the life of your sister or brother will be a priceless treasure to them
- You and your siblings will avoid the trap of needing approval from friends, because you will find security in each other
- Your love will be a demonstration to everyone that you are Christ's disciple
- Your brothers and sisters will be one of your greatest resources of caution and counsel, and help in times of need.
- You will find great joy!
- You will enjoy the rich, lifelong friendship that God intended
- You will gain experience and insight which will help you get along with other believers - your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Perplexed - One boy who must write one sentence.
Cofused - One boy who must write one paragraph.
Disaster - One boy who has a deadline set by his sister!
Skunk - A creature with enough "scents" not to play hide and seek.
Future - A time to schedule all of your work.
Campers - Nature's way of feeding mosquitoes.
Blessings to you all as you work on INVESTING in your siblings and look to the future - you want your relationships to be strong and close, right?
~Josh, Jenna and Bethany