Siblings are great. They’re best friends given straight from God. They’re born with the natural ability to drive you absolutely nuts. But they also know you better than anyone else. There’s a special bond that siblings share that can’t compare with any other relationship. Why? Because you “came out of the same uterus.”
Growing up, Amy and I had several sets of friends who were also siblings: the Rivenbarks, the Nichols, the Bishops, the Watskys, the Berryhills…the list goes on. Typically, I’d pair up with the elder sibling and Amy would buddy up with the younger. And on some rare and glorious occasions, we would all team up for the most inventive games of make-believe you could imagine. Despite the fun and games, there were the inevitable disagreements, arguments and knock-down-drag-out fights.
Amy and I stole each others toys, clothes and boyfriends. But we also shared secrets, joys and fears. There were days when we said we hated each other and days when we were completely inseparable. As we grew older and wiser, we became closer friends. There’s not a thing in the world I wouldn’t do for my sister. If it were in my power, I’d protect her from every bad thing that could possibly impact her life.
Joseph and his brothers did a little less bonding than most siblings I know. Joseph’s brothers let their jealousy take over, resulting in their selling him into slavery and leaving him for dead. Joseph’s brothers cause him more pain and suffering than possibly any other siblings in the bible. But with his faith in God, Joseph learns to forgive his brothers.
14-15 After burying his father, Joseph went back to Egypt. All his brothers who had come with him to bury his father returned with him. After the funeral, Joseph’s brothers talked among themselves: “What if Joseph is carrying a grudge and decides to pay us back for all the wrong we did him?”
16-17 So they sent Joseph a message, “Before his death, your father gave this command: Tell Joseph, ‘Forgive your brothers’ sinâ€”all that wrongdoing. They did treat you very badly.’ Will you do it? Will you forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God?”
When Joseph received their message, he wept.
18 Then the brothers went in person to him, threw themselves on the ground before him and said, “We’ll be your slaves.”
19-21 Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right nowâ€”life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart.
Despite everything they put him through, Joseph not only forgave his brothers, he saw the purpose God had in his troubles and he promised to take care of them and their children.
I hate the saying “blood is thicker than water,” it seems contrite and thuggish. But it does carry some truth. There’s a bond we share with our siblings, those people with whom we share DNA, who came out of the same uterus. They’re part of who we are, and that bond is one of God’s most precious gifts.
Dear Lord, thank you for family, specifically siblings. Thank you for the fights and the tears and the hugs and the laughter that they bring into our lives. Please help us to truly apreciate those special bonds and never take them for granted.