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Photo by Phaitoon, courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Phaitoon, courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Colossians 4:6 (NASB)

One of the great blessings of being a Christian is the community of fellow believers.  We support each other in times of trial and offer friendship and someone to rejoice with in happy times.  But one of the greatest challenges can be maintaining that community despite all of our flaws and selfishness.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sisterhood and what it really means.  God didn’t use the metaphor of family randomly.  He chose it as something we can all relate to, that expresses the deep nature of the connections forged by a shared faith.

My earthly sister is the person I trust to honestly answer the questions “Are these jeans too tight?”  My dear husband has declared all clothing fit topics off-limits, but my sister will give me an honest opinion when asked, and sometimes an honest opinion when she hasn’t been asked, but can see I need it.

I won’t lie, sometimes those opinions smart. We all know that some things are easier to hear than others, and unasked for opinions sting the worst.  But whatever I feel in the moment, I love my sister and I know she loves me and has my best interest at heart.  I may come to agree with her, or I may continue to disagree, but I won’t stop showing up at family get-togethers because of it.  I’ll get over whatever anger or hurt it causes, because the bond of family is deeper than my momentary upset.

But too often I think we go to church and we focus on superficial interactions and “being nice” to our sisters in Christ instead of being honest and offering them true sisterhood.  We nod and smile when we should ask a well-thought out question to make our sister reconsider her choices (and if they were just fashion choices, life would be so much easier) instead.  We shy away from the kind of closeness that requires that uncomfortable truths sometimes be spoken.

There is good reason for this; the chances are, our family bonds with our Christian sisters aren’t strong enough to withstand many uncomfortable truths.  I would like to encourage all of us to consider how to build up our relationships within the church.

Community and a feeling of family isn’t built in a few minutes after the sermon each week.  The early church offers us an example: “…breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” (Acts 4:46b, NASB)

Look for ways to work together, play together, and eat together.  Offer your hospitality instead of waiting for invitations from others.

What are your suggestions for building sisterhood?