As I was getting my children up for school and watching them talk to and at each other, I couldn’t help but think of brotherly love in the church. As their mom, I have had the privilege of watching my children from the start, interact with one another.
I can assure you that 10 years ago, my littlest guy was a living doll for my little girl. She was there to tend to his every need. She hugged him, loved him, played with him, tried her best to feed him, and made sure mom knew when it was time to change his stinky diaper. He of course, didn’t have much choice, but loved all the attention. He figured out pretty quickly that if he wanted something, she was his ‘go to’ gal. Everything was wonderful.
That is, until my little guy started growing up and getting his own opinion on things. Until the day he started wanting to do things ‘his self.’ Until the day he started to infringe on her space or her choices. I’d have to tell her things like, ‘Now honey, we do need to let your brother have a turn too.’ Of course, she never minded before he could do things like talk or make his own decision, but when his decisions started infringing on her own, well, I would watch my normally sweet and helpful little girl become something … err, not so sweet.
I know, this is a normal part of growing up. Truthfully, in my case, it really isn’t so bad because their squabbles are short lived. I can give a stern warning and that takes care of it, for the most part. Certainly however, there is some friction as these two young ones learn not only their way in life, but also, learn the responsibility of respecting their sibling.
I was thinking that it isn’t much different in the church, where brotherly and sisterly love are supposed to reside. We start out all excited about the new spiritual ‘baby.’ It’s wonderful having the baby follow you and learn from you. However, one day the baby grows up. The baby starts making his/her own decisions and suddenly, that baby is no longer a baby. The baby is now on the same level as you .. sometimes even challenging you. How can they think differently than you? Didn’t you teach them everything you know? Many opportunities for growth for the two arise during such situations.
Of course, I look at my children from the same perspective God does us, I can see both sides .. really it’s just two kids; both valuable individuals. Both have valuable ideas. Both have the right to learn and grow and develop their own opinion. But both, need to learn to respect the other without bullying or harming the other. Sometimes mom needs to step in and clarify if one of the two has a skewed idea, but then it’s mom stepping in.
And just like real life, God does the same for us. We may not always agree with our brothers and sisters in Christ. As babies, we grow up and learn that sometimes we see things differently than those that we were taught from. Or as the older ‘spiritual’ sister, we may find that our ‘younger siblings’ may develop thoughts different from our own. What a blessing it is that we get to learn how to respect others opinions, learn how to be a guide, learn how to be a student, and learn how to get along with people completely different from us. And sometimes, God has to step in and clarify because maybe one of us has an idea that is a bit skewed.
I’m thankful today that His yoke is easy and that it is He who leads and guides. I’m also thankful that He really is all about family. So many opportunities to learn and grow from one another …. ahhh yes, Brotherly love.