I love to read – its common knowledge. When I was 12, I literally read through bookshelves of books. The library had a constant flow of literature that never stayed home long enough to build the formidable stack they could have made. My hour-long reading time was crammed and evenings found me glued to the couch. I literally (no pun intended) lived off of old-fashioned classics and historical fiction.
Sadly, that was not a year of reading that I’m proud of.
I hate to admit it, but the books were heavy on the fiction side and more than a little lean on the information side. True, I gleaned great vocabulary (I love old words!), I discovered the development of plot (introduction, climax, denouement etc) and I relished in the nuances of side plots and red herrings. But that was far outweighed by the sneaky, barely perceptible, little lies that were slid in along with the thrilling drama.
One of those sneaky little lies was the myth of the Big Sis.
In about 80% of the books I read, there was an older sister in the main character’s family or an older girl in some other family. Traditionally, this Big Sis was pretty much all about herself – her looks, possessions, attention, and accomplishments. She looked down on the younger children, was two-faced to the adults, and ruined the plans of the main character. Usually, by the end of the book, Big Sis was either trounced or driven to repentance.
So, seeing this conflict played out over and over, I began to fall for it. It’s not that I started to disdain my own older sisters (they are still some of my best friends) but the myth had started to taint my view on sisterhood. I was confused about what it really meant to be an older sister. I had plenty of younger sisters myself and I really didn’t want to be that tyrannical Big Sis.
Honestly, I think this is a very important issue. Sisters are precious gifts, they make amazing friends, and guess what – they never go home!
“Yeah, right,” you might say “I could stand to have her off my case awhile!” This is a sad, living reality around us. I often wonder why everyone seems to bemoan loneliness when those very people have left their own family behind. I understand that for some this is neither the fault or choice of their own, but I think many of us neglect the nest when looking for a “best” friend.
Believe it or not, but the Bible has a lot to say about relationships. Here is a sample of some key verses (there’s way more where they come from – check it out yourself!):
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John 13:35 (KJV)
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – I Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24 (KJV)
Wow! Daunted? Those are very convicting verses, but before you lose heart, be comforted in knowing that living them out it is not a pointless struggle!
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name,” – Hebrews 6:10
If that wasn’t comforting enough – to think that the Almighty, Holy God would reward the fleshly, sinful group of people that we are – here are two more verses that show the necessity of following the commanding verses in every aspect:
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” – Matthew 25:40
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord…” Matthew 25:21
Just in case you are still doubtful of why should practice these verses among your siblings…
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
Ok, with all that under information crammed into our heads – how does that pertain to the Big Sis? Well, I’d say that a life patterned after the above verse is guaranteed to thoroughly squash the Big Sis in either you or in your circle. Remember…
“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heaps coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” Proverbs 25:21-22
To clear up the potential confusion, putting coals of fire on someone’s head refers to doing a kindness – not a literal burning! In times past, fires would go out during the night and unless the person was careful, he wouldn’t even have warm coals to start his fire in the morning. It was a sign of kindness, therefore, for a person to send them some of his own burning coals in a jar on his head.
I hope this post was helpful. Dispelling the Big Sis can sound like an impossible job. But don’t lose heart! A fresh, clean, and joyful relationship with your sister is completely possible! (See Matthew 19:26 and 2 Peter 1:3)