Growing up, my parents were intent on making sure my sister and I had a good relationship. “Be nice to your sister; she’s the only one you’ve got” was a somewhat common refrain in the house. The older I grew, the more I realized why my parents were so focused on this. They knew that my sister and I had an unique bond that no friend could ever match. We had a shared history that no one else could experience. We were joined together; regardless of how distance or time might separate us, we would always be sisters. No matter how much we might annoy, pester, or frustrate each other, we were stuck with one another, and when it came down to it, we would be there for each other. My parents, therefore, wanted to make sure that not only were we aware of this unique bond, but that we appreciated it.
In Paul’s writing, you see a similar concern for those who are brothers and sisters in Christ. In Colossians 1:3, for example, he writes, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.” This is after he calls the Christians in Colossae “faithful brothers.” Similarly, he writes in Phillippians 1:3, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” to the brothers and sisters in the Philippi church. Paul recognized, much like my parents, that those who are siblings in Christ share a unique history of salvation. They have a bond that no earthly friendship can compare to. And regardless of distance or time, they will always be joined together. So although our Christian family may frustrate, pester and annoy us, we should be grateful that God has given us one another – and we should be there for each other when we need it.
It’s easy to squabble with your Earthly siblings. It’s sometimes just as easy to fight with those who are your Heavenly brothers and sisters. But let’s remember to be grateful for them. And to let that gratitude be the prominent characteristic of our relationship.