With so much talk of brotherly love in the Scriptures, it is sad that there are too few expressions of it witnessed in familial life. Especially in brothers loving their sisters. Often it seems that brothers are too busy for sisters and bothered with their interests. With so many young ladies looking for attention in all the wrong places these days, you wonder how different things would be if brothers simply loved their sisters.
Yet that raises the question. Brother, how do you love your sister? Here are five simple encouragements.
Listen to her. As my own family of three boys and three girls grew, with the genders alternating boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl, each brother had a younger sister looking up to him. I noticed every day that the younger sister wanted to talk and tell the older brother what was going on in the home, in her thoughts, in our lives. Brother, you can learn to love your sister by putting down the ball or turning away from the screen for a few minutes, looking your sister in the eyes, and listening to what she is wanting to tell you. Let her know that when she needs to talk to someone, you will be one person that will always be there.
Respect her. Learning to become a gentleman should start in the home and start early, with brothers treating their sisters with respect. Sure, enjoy much good-natured teasing and laughing with one another that the familiarity of a home brings. But do not let it get to the point where there is constant friction and your sister doubts that you admire and love her. Be sure to do such small but significant practices as regularly compliment her, hold the door for her, thank her when she serves you, speak well of her before others, and value her opinions.
Protect her. From neighborhood boys who get too rough in play to teenage boys who get too rough in language, you have a duty to step in and be your sister’s protector. Other guys should know that to treat your sister rudely is an invitation to experience your displeasure. Yet this protective nature should be more extensive than just dealing with jeering or leering. As she becomes a young woman, help her overcome her innocent naivete when it comes to guys and give due warning for, after all, you know what they are like. In this dangerous age, accompany her when possible in travel. Always express concern for her safety. Let her know that you care where she is and who is with her. Even when she goes off to college or work, she may be more alone but never let her believe that she is alone. She should never doubt that she has a brother who cares.
Put her first. Gospel living begins and ends with sacrifice, of having the mind of Christ that regards others as more important than yourself. Can your sister see concrete ways that today you have shown her the gospel? Did you miss one of your events to be at hers? Did you give her first choice in something that was offered to you? When a choice of activity was before you both, did you ask her what she would like to do? Love is sacrifice, pure and simple (John 15:13).
Show and tell her. Brother, do not neglect the importance of expressing love to your sister with words and actions. When children are young, most brothers seem to have no problem receiving hugs or stating love to their sisters. But as children grow, awkwardness can creep in through neglect if brothers are not careful. So tell your sister you love her, not only on special occasions such as birthdays or holidays, but daily. A good night hug, an occasional note or text, or a straightforward, “I love you, Sis” should be regular experiences your sister has.
Sisters, it would be encouraging to hear below some accounts of how a brother has loved you. Perhaps it would give us all some ideas, as we need all the help we can get. And brothers, if you need some inspiration, watch this video. Let little gentleman Trenton demonstrate to you how he genuinely loves his sister in each of these ways in less than three minutes.