As a woman who grew up with a sister, I know there is both value and hardship found within a sisterly bond. There is a unique relationship between one young girl to the other in a family. If God has blessed you with a sister, ask yourself why? Today we are going to investigate what the Bible says about sisters.
I know two adorable sisters who are one year apart. When the older girl was two years old and the young was one, the older was not too fond of the idea of another baby around. She would say “no” and try to exclude her. However now that they are older, they are best friends. The jealousy between siblings can be a common struggle, however even grown women who are sisters can still face the temptation to be competitive rather than celebrating one another. When looking at Scripture, we can see what God says about sisters.
Immediately when I think of sisters in the Bible, I remember Mary and Martha of Bethany. These women were Jesus’ friends but were definitely different. They clearly had a close relationship because they lived together. Martha was a hardworking, accomplished woman who owned a home, and Mary was a merciful, tenderhearted woman who valued learning from Jesus. These women were both recognized as Jesus’ friends, and their story can be found in Luke 10:38-42.
Luke 10:38-39 says, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”
We learn that Jesus approached and loved Mary and Martha, even though the women were different in their strengths and weaknesses. Sisters may be opposites, but each one is made in the beautiful image of God. Instead of comparing, we can celebrate that God our Father values each one of us equally as His children. We can learn and grow from our differences.
Romans 2:11 says, “For God does not show favoritism.”
1 John 4:20-21 says, "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
God teaches us that when we love Him, we will also love our sisters. You would think that those whom the Lord has placed physically in front of us would be easier to love. However, in a sin-filled world, sisters can be hard to love, but we are called to love God by loving them.
Whether this is a sister in you actually family or you spiritual sisters, we are commanded to love them. When we understand the love and grace that the Lord has extended to us, we will be able to more effectively love our sisters. The best part of a healthy family is that you are there for each other no matter what. At the end of the day, your family is still there whether you had the best or worst day. Our love for our sisters can be an act of worship to Christ.
One of the clearest warnings in Scripture for sisters is through the sisterhood of Leah and Rachel. Sisters can be competitive, and this comes out very negatively in the relationship of Leah and Rachel. We feel empathy for them because it was never their hope to marry the same man, however, Jacob was unfortunately tricked into marrying Leah and then married Rachel afterwards. The two went through a battle of birthing babies and even bringing their servants in on their war. Reading the Bible you just wonder, did they ever like each other? They are so hostile in their decisions.
We see the drama unfold in verses like Genesis 30:1 “When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I shall die!’” Or Genesis 30:9 “When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.”
These women wanted so badly to be the favorite, the number one, that they missed the blessing of being sisters. Unfortunately, the sins of others affected their own relationship and put strain on them. We can learn from Leah and Rachel to not allow the actions of others to determine our sisterhood. We can remember to be supporters and teammates, not competitors and enemies.
One of the most interesting accounts found in the Old Testament is the daughters of Zelophehad in the time of Moses. These five sisters were owed land as an inheritance because their father has passed and they had no brother (Numbers 27:2–3). When Moses sought the Lord, God told him that the women were right (Numbers 27:5-11). Moses then gave the girls the land that they deserved to live on.
These sisters united to speak up on behalf of a greater cause. When Christ is the center of our sister relationships, we have this same opportunity to unify and be on mission for the gospel. Our sisterhood relationships can be witnesses of Jesus’ existence and work in our lives. Sisters are on mission together for a greater purpose.
1. Am I celebrating my sister?
2. In what ways can I love my sister more effectively?
3. What areas of competition can become places of support and encouragement?
Sisters are a blessing from the Lord. If you have the opportunity to have a sister through family or faith, cherish that. I feel that a great attack on sisterhood relationships is comparison and competition. There is a lot of pressure on girls and women. However, one of the most wonderful support systems can be through those very sisters that the enemy wants to paint as our competitors. Pray through and ponder the questions above and seek God on how you can love the sisters around you.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com