“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.”
1 John 4:20a NIV
The gospel defines love. It exemplifies love at its best; God loved the world in this way by sending His Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). And when we believe the gospel, we are transformed into new creatures capable of loving like God. Of course, this does not always imply that we find it easy to love everyone; in fact, we may struggle to love those closest to us. Our siblings are one of these people!
The Bible discusses sibling rivalry. Cain and Abel (Genesis 4), Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25-28), Leah and Rachel, Abimelech and his brothers (Judges 9:1-6), and Joseph and his brothers are a few examples. We can find the worst types of jealousy and selfishness in these presumably close relationships. Even if you are an only child, you can relate because you have friends who are more like your brother or sister.
You have brothers and sisters in the Lord too, and you can bet God wants you to love them deeply rather than compete with them. He would not want you to mistreat them. When we love our siblings, we demonstrate our love for God (1 John 4:20). While instructing us on how to behave in these last days, Peter instructed us to love one another fervently (1 Peter 4:8, NIV). Yes, you will be offended by your blood siblings and siblings in the Lord, but love will help you forgive them rather than make their offence a public issue.
With the temptations and ungodly examples of greed, trickery, and so on that we are easily exposed to in our time via the internet and social media, this is a matter we must take seriously so that we do not find ourselves doing the unthinkable to our loved ones as we see in the examples of Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brother, and so on. So, if there are any unresolved issues between you and your siblings, address them. Deal with any resentment you have for whatever reason.
Ephesians 4:31-32 is quite instructive here. It says:
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (NKJV)
To summarize this text, simply love and walk in love. If you have a sibling or a family member who has wronged you, release them in your heart today and pray for them. And, if you are the offending party, reach out to them and make amends for the sake of love.
Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 24-25