By: Tim Sader
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 13:1)
The spirit realm was very real to me as a child so fear was a real struggle for me. Part of what helped me with this is when my baby brother was born and I had a new roommate. I was happy to be getting a little friend for life as we waited for his arrival. On the day of his birth he almost didn’t make it home to me. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his throat three times and he developed pneumonia because his lungs were weak. My family tried to hide their concerns from me but I’m sure I understood more than they knew. When I got to go see him I had to wear a mask, gown and gloves. He was in an incubator with an IV in the top of his head. While he was in the hospital my dad was in Marine Corps basic training so I stayed with different family members. I knew something was wrong because my mom wasn’t around and my routine was disturbed. I developed a temporary stutter that cleared up when he came home after two weeks in NICU. I learned quickly how to be a big brother and to entertain myself since he needed extra attention to stay well. He had to fight off pneumonia for two years and was a very sleepy baby. Because of being sick he reached some mile stones late. It took sometime before he could really talk and he couldn’t walk until he was two and a half years old. I loved being an older brother for the most part. I wanted him to learn everything from me and to be just like me. Sometimes I was over zealous in this pursuit to where I would boss him around and make him do it my way. We would fight like brothers do but before too long he could beat me up. On the other hand we always had each other’s back if one of us had a struggle. We never were much on snitching so often we would both be punished for not fessing up to what happened. Because of me being in charge by birth it made it difficult for him to develop his own reasoning skills so I had to help him get through school. Later in life he would help me physically do what I couldn’t. We were side kicks in life and remained that way until his passing when he was just twenty-eight.
I love my brother and was so happy when he was finally strong enough for me to play with him. I was convinced my little brother was full of goodness; I filled his head with everything I knew because I felt competent to instruct him (Rom. 15:14). All of us are full of goodness; if we know Christ we are filled with knowledge and can instruct one another like I did my brother. I often tried to be an example for him just as I had followed the example all the adults in my life. We must keep our eyes on people we look up to who live for the Lord and model our lives to be like them (Phil. 3:17). I wanted my brother to be like me in every way but sometimes people learn also what not to do. Some of what he learned was not to give into the disease that we both struggled with. He didn’t follow the patterns that caused me to stop walking sooner or sitting in his chair crooked and getting scoliosis. When we set an example it should be more to see them rise higher not just for them to be our replica. The trials my brother and me shared had a lot to do with our close relationship. We didn’t let it bring us down for long or very often because we still found joy in the midst of our struggles. We learned to laugh in the midst of unfortunate circumstances and to not focus on our inabilities. We are instructed to face trials of any kind with pure joy and that is what we learned to do (Jas. 1:2). My baby brother was biologically a member of my family but if we believe in Jesus we have many brothers and sisters in Him. Those who do the will of God are siblings of ours also (Mk. 3:35). For this reason we need to keep on loving one another as our brothers and sisters.
You may be wondering how to love others like they are siblings though you never physically had brothers or sisters. Perhaps your siblings were unkind or the relationship was damaged in some way so you’d rather not be involved in those kind of relationships. Loving brothers and sisters in the Lord is not about agreeing with them in all things. It is about honoring the Lord and respecting their personal relationship with Him. We need to lay down our differences to learn and grow more together in the Lord.
Lord help us to see one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Teach us to respect the relationship they have with You and remember that it is all about loving you and one another. If we had bad or no relationship with brothers and sisters show us a model of what that looks like so we can rise above whatever we are missing to have successful relationships with our extended family in the Lord. In Jesus name, Amen
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