Words cannot express how proud African-Americans are of Venus Williams and Serena Williams. The Williams’ sisters have dominated the international stage as it concerns the sport of tennis for more than a decade. Americans, in general, and African-Americans, in particular, have conveyed their administration of the Williams sisters because of their athletic prowess as well as their generosity and demeanor off the court. To be sure, the Williams sisters have engaged in intense competition against one another on the court; however, it is apparent that they truly love each other off the court. Unfortunately, not all not sisters or  brothers enjoy a great public and private relationship. The historical record declares that some siblings (e.g., Jacob and Esau – Genesis 25 and 27:41) had a very difficult time getting along.  For example, the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis tells the story of a person named Cain who actually killed his brother Able (see Genesis 4:8). When the Lord asked Cain about his brother Able, Cain said: “I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9)?” God knows everything (God is omniscient); therefore, God knew that Cain killed Able. God’s question to Cain was really an opportunity for Cain to confess his sin, and ask God for forgiveness. It was an opportunity for Cain to repent and to establish a correct relationship with God. Genesis 4 tells us that Cain refused to repent for both killing his brother and lying about it, and his actions caused him to fall out of favor with God.

Psychologists have informed us that sibling rivalry is natural. Both studies and our experiences have indicated that brothers or sisters sometimes compete for attention from their parents. However, we may infer from the story of Cain and Able that God truly wants brothers and sisters to care for one another. Some of my most challenging, confusing and heartbreaking pastoral counseling sessions concerned siblings who didn’t get along. We can infer that Jesus cared about the relationship between siblings because several of his disciples were brothers. According to Matthew 10:2: “These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John….”  Jesus knew that the positive, healthy and loving relationship between siblings was necessary for kingdom building.

If you happen to have an issue with your brother or sister, please take the time (and seek professional assistance, if necessary) to work thought your problems together. As Christians, we are our brother’s and our sister’s keeper. We are also brothers and sister in Christ. Lastly, the human family is interconnected. We are brothers and sisters on this planet. Indeed, children of God.