How many of you have a sister who is also a great friend?
Or a friend who is like a sister?
Think back to when you were small, and you stayed up late talking, how you'd keep each other from getting caught if you did something naughty, and you'd protect one another. NO ONE messes with my sister!
A family bond is a strong bond. Even when things get tough, it always seems to boil down to "family is family". You have the same father (most of the time) and you share the same bloodline.
Well Christian women are spiritual sisters. We have the same Father- God, if we've put our faith in Christ, and we are bonded by the same blood- Christ's blood.
You know, in either family it's easy to love when people are doing what you want, and behaving in a way you expect. It's easy to love someone else when they are taking care of you and putting your best interests before their own.
But what about when your sister borrows your favorite shirt without asking, and brings it back all stained. Maybe a few holes are in it...not so easy to love then, is it?
With spiritual sisterhood, maybe someone has hurt you. Maybe it was unintentional. Or maybe you just feel left out. And in feeling left out, you've decided that church is stupid and the women are snobby, and no one loves you.
It's easy for us to do that, isn't it? Be all dramatic about something and let it affect our whole lives, when really it's been blown out of proportion because we've been thinking about it over and over, and blown it up into this HUGE thing...well let's read some verses in Galatians about the relationship of believers, and how I think it applies to women specifically.
In Galatians 5:14-17 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
I love these verses for women. What is easy for women to do? Gossip. Tell one-sided stories. Be a victim. A martyr. Bite and devour one another with our words or thoughts.
However, if we walk in the Spirit, we won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It's interesting, because many times we relate the lusts of the flesh to sexual immorality. But here the lusts of the flesh are 'biting and devouring' one another. Maybe it's all just mental. Maybe you rip people apart in your mind, but never to anyone else. That's still sin. You're still giving in to your flesh.
And in doing that, you cannot walk in the Spirit and do the things which your spirit wants to do, which is get involved with a ministry, give people the benefit of the doubt, and forgive.
For those of you who may be spiritual sisters since forever ago, what are we doing to make sure we're tightening the bonds of our sisterhood? Do we seek out those who look alone? Or nervous? Do we have the eyes of the Lord on Sundays and Wednesdays to find those who would be lost in the shuffle? We have a responsibility too...no matter what we think we need to get done, we really need to look out for our sisters.
Let's read 1 John 3:16-18 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
It's so easy to get consumed with out own little world. What we need to do. Who we want to talk to. Who will make us feel good. Who looks good so I can stand with them and look good. But that's not what Christ is calling us to do.
We are to lay down our lives for our spiritual sisters. This means that no matter what we have planned on Sunday or Wednesday, (or any other time for that matter) no matter who we plan to see, we need to give our day to God. Let Him lead as He desires. Ask Him to show us someone who needs pulled a little tighter into the group. Someone who has a need He might use us to meet.
It's VERY easy in this digital age to just send someone a text or write on their wall on facebook and tell them we're praying for them. Or write “If you need anything, let me know.”
Who is going to reply through their facebook wall that they are going crazy and need someone to watch their kids? Or that they can't get motivated to clean their house and they have fifty piles of laundry around everywhere? Or that someone has hurt them and the reason they don't want to come back to church is because it's full of people who love in word only and have never done one thing to prove their words?
It's easy to use Facebook because people will see we're "involved". Our name and our promise to pray is there before the Lord and everybody. People can see we care, right? But, whatever happened to physically coming alongside someone and supporting them? Knowing a need and meeting it without someone having to ask us?
We have a huge job before us. Making people feel loved takes effort and sacrifice. Doing for others is sometimes exhausting. Being part of a sisterhood is never easy. Lots of personality issues. Lots of drama. LOTS of emotion!
But it boils down to this: family is family. No one else can fill your role in the family. No one will take care of their sisters as well as you can.
If we are all walking in the Spirit, we will look out for one another. We'll give each other the benefit of the doubt. We'll forgive when we need to, and be humble enough to ask for it when we need to. Being in the body of Christ doesn't mean you coast until the end.
Can we make it our goal be to really tighten the bonds of sisterhood so we can support and love one another the way God wants us to? Loving when it's hard, serving one another, forgiving faults...sounds pretty good to me!