Since the beginning of time, the family has been under attack. In fact, Satan’s primary agenda is to destroy Christians through the breakdown of families.
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but what might surprise you is just how easily we are giving in to Satan’s game. It all starts with the lies we’ve been believing about sibling relationships. The message is that siblings were born to fight. They are meant to hate each other. The best thing you can do is separate them.
This became very clear to me when I set out to create a t-shirt for siblings with a positive message. As I searched to make sure not to infringe on trademarks or copyrights, I saw so many t-shirts sending negative and even horrific messages about the drudgery of the sibling relationship.
That day I resolved to do whatever we can here at Not Consumed to fight this lie that is tearing families apart, creating discontentment and strife, and breaking down the beautiful plan God has for siblings.
I figured if we as Christians want to protect our families and fight the world’s agenda of sibling hate, we would need to broadcast a DIFFERENT message and we would need to start right in our homes. We would need to start by learning and understanding God’s agenda for siblings.
Have you wondered why God gave you siblings to begin with? We know God’s way is perfect. He makes no mistakes. The siblings we have are a part of His perfect plan for us, so let’s consider WHY God gave them to us as we seek to teach these truths to our kids.
Why God Gave You Siblings
Even the nicest of siblings is hard to get along with because two people rarely agree on every single thing. We have different interests, different desires, different goals. We have different agendas, opinions, and emotions. The honest truth is, most of us are convinced life would be easier without siblings. But THAT is exactly what the enemy wants us to believe about our siblings, because if we do, we will never learn the real truth.
To help us fight these lies, let’s explore God’s purpose for giving us siblings.
It all starts in Proverbs 17:17. This is the most significant purpose God gives us. The verse says a brother is born for adversity. That means your brother (or sister) was born for trouble. When I was younger, I was convinced this meant my sister was born to cause me trouble. I’m sure you can relate to the sentiment. But that’s not what it means.
A brother is born for adversity. He is born for the hard times in life. He’s here to help you when you need it. I tell my kids, “He’s got your back.”
There are so many examples of this in the Bible. I think of Joseph who managed to save his whole family from starvation (even after they sold him into slavery). There’s also Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ siblings. Miriam saved Moses’ life when he was a baby by watching out for him after their mother sent him down the Nile in a basket. He needed his sister!
In both of these examples, those siblings were there for each other. They put their lives in danger for each other. They put their own needs and desires aside for the other’s.
I have to admit it’s hard to see this when we are younger. Usually we don’t understand this about our siblings until we are adults and life is harder than we expected. But when life gets tough, we know we can count on our siblings. I know I could not be more thankful for the ways my sister has been there for me in some of the most difficult circumstances. It’s truly through those situations where I learned to appreciate her the most.
Of course, you can’t fabricate that in your family. But you can share this verse with your children and help them see God’s design for the relationship. You can remind them, encourage them, and keep God’s Word at the front of their minds when it comes to the way they think about their siblings.
For Growth and Training
We often don’t think of life as a training ground, but it is. Every moment of life is preparing us for the next. This couldn’t be more true about our sibling relationships. Learning to resolve conflict, handle miscommunication, and put the needs of others above our own are just a few of the crucial skills we will need to help us get along with our future employers, spouse, friends, neighbors, and even the lady checking us out at the grocery store.
God has given us siblings to uniquely gift us for a life we can’t even fathom yet. Since we don’t have the whole picture, we can only trust that He didn’t make any mistakes in the choosing.
For Love and Friendship
There’s always talk about how siblings should be best friends. The thing is, this isn’t always the right fit. Sometimes siblings are polar opposites, like Mary and Martha. You probably remember them from the famous scene in the Bible where Martha tells Jesus what to do because her sister Mary isn’t helping with the dinner party (adult sibling rivalry at its finest, ladies and gentlemen). The two had a different agenda and a different way of expressing their love toward Jesus. Mary wanted to sit at His feet while Martha wanted to show Jesus love through serving Him.
It’s normal for siblings to be different and it’s ok if they aren’t “best friends” in the sense that they think alike and talk alike in all things. But that doesn’t change the purpose of the relationship. Siblings were created for love and friendship. They are the people in your life who see you at your worst and love you no matter what. Mary and Martha are the perfect example of this when we come to the story of their brother Lazarus.
When his life was hanging by a thread, the sisters sent word to another town to ask Jesus to help. Nothing kept them from working together to get help for their brother or pleading desperately on his behalf. We see the two of these ladies together throughout the rest of Jesus’ life as they follow Him to the cross. Yes, they were different and they probably didn’t meet the standard “best friend” protocol, but they still spent their entire lives in a loving friendship, as well as sibling relationship.
Have you ever considered that your entire life may very well be lived for the advancement of someone else? It may seem a bit outlandish in today’s culture, but we see this theme in the Bible so many times. Take Esther for example. She went through many things for the purpose of saving the Jewish people. And then there is Aaron.
You may not remember him in the Bible, but I know you’ll remember his brother Moses. You see, Aaron was given the task of actually TALKING for Moses. In today’s culture, any president or highly respected official would have a spokesperson like Moses did, but back then I get the feeling it wasn’t quite so prestigious of a position. Nonetheless, Aaron spent his entire life serving his brother by speaking for him and supporting his ministry to the Israelites. Once during a long battle, he even held up his brother’s arms so Moses could keep the staff held high and the favor would remain with God’s people.
This example of servanthood is one we should make sure our kids learn. It’s unlikely they will have a future career devoted to serving their sibling, but learning to meet the needs of others before we meet our own is a beautiful picture of the Christian life. It’s the example Jesus set for us and isn’t excluded in sibling relationships!
For a Witness
Have you ever considered sibling relationships to be a witness? Our relationship with each other as siblings is meant to be a witness to the world. Remember the agenda of sibling hatred? Remember how the world sees the sibling relationship as an impossible feat? This is an excellent opportunity to let Christ’s light shine through us. If we can get along with each other, people will notice. If they notice, many will ask. This gives us the perfect opportunity to show them how only Jesus makes it possible for us to love when we are up against the odds of our own flesh.
On the flip side, when we as Christians aren’t kind to each other and have relationships just as bad as everyone else (or even worse), guess what message we are sending? It makes absolutely no difference if you are a Christian or not because doing the right thing is out of reach for all of us. This is a sad message to send because Jesus died on the cross to give us the power to say no to sin. He died so we could be free from the bondage of wrong choices. Our sibling relationships should display that kind of power. Of course they won’t be perfect. That isn’t even the goal. They should just be DIFFERENT enough to notice!
This final reason is the one that trips everyone up. We might be able to admit that our siblings can help us in trouble. We know we are to love and serve them. We know God is constantly growing us and training us to be more like Him. But calling the sibling relationship a blessing? That one is just too much to swallow.
Trust me, I can understand the reasoning behind this. How can anything as difficult and trying as a sibling relationship bless us? How could unkind words, conflict, and fist fights be something good in our lives?
Well, I think we have a pretty good case for how these things can bring blessing as we’ve talked about each of the reasons God gave us siblings. It’s in the friendship, training, and even in the adversity that we see blessing. The real blessings in life don’t always come from the good things. Real blessings come from the things we never wanted to experience, but could not be more thankful we did.
We see this lesson over and over again in the Bible. Joseph would have never chosen slavery, but the result was blessing both in his life and in the life of the entire nation of Israel. Esther never would have chosen to be queen, but the blessing was in the saving of the Jews. Ruth never would have chosen to be a widow, but the blessing of her kinsman redeemer became the heritage of King David and the lineage of the ultimate blessing of Jesus.
Life is full of hard things we never would have chosen, but it’s also abundant with blessings woven throughout every single part. The sibling relationship is a beautiful blessing to cherish both when we are young and until we leave this earth.
Resources for Helping Your Kids with Sibling Relationships:
As you teach your children why God gave them siblings, here are some additional resources to support your journey.
If you are looking for ways to foster better sibling relationships, click here.
For help teaching your kids what God says about the sibling relationship, grab this best selling Bible study.
Learn about ways YOU might be causing sibling conflict in this post.
Challenge your kids to a year-long journey of working on their sibling relationships with this Sibling Challenge Journal.
Finally, I’ve created a simple printable for you to hang on the wall and use as you discuss these purposes with your kids. It’s the perfect companion for the Bible study and Sibling Challenge Journal as well.