A definition of sister and brother
Today is Siblings Day, a day observed in some parts of the world. The date as such, at least in terms of world history, is insignificant, but worth exploring nevertheless to look at some well-known wisdom.
What are siblings? Siblings are related by blood, right? That is not necessarily the case, however, because siblings are not always brother and sister or brother and brother or sister and sister who share the same parents. There are also half-siblings and step-siblings. And then there are adopted siblings, who are siblings according to the law, but not biologically. Full biological siblings share 50 per cent of their genes, half-siblings at least 25 per cent, and adopted siblings none.
Already this short description makes clear how tricky explanations can be. As is often the case, a quick definition is not possible.
Sisters and brothers in Christ
Change of subject: Christians address each other as brothers and sisters. But why? Because they go to the same church or belong to the same denomination? Because they worship the same Father in heaven? Because they are baptised? Here too, a simple yes or no is hardly possible. After a first consent there is usually a big “but”. Sometimes people’s idea of God differs, sometimes their idea of children is different. So what makes a Christian a Christian, and that he or she can be a brother or a sister?
The Christian faith is Trinitarian. The Christian creed is founded on Holy Scripture and the Apostles’ Creed. Christians profess the following.
- We believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ died for us and rose again, and that He will come again.
- We believe in one holy universal and apostolic church, the communion of saints, forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
In addition, Christians feel united by baptism. And they treat each other in a friendly and peaceful way.
Christians believe in Christ
However, a look at Christianity shows: not all believe this any more. In biblical times, Christians were Jews who believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Today, Christians call themselves Christians who no longer even believe in Jesus Christ. There are antitrinitarian denominations, monotheistic denominations, ditheistic denominations—and all in the broader context of Christianity. There are denominational families with great consensus, yet hundreds of Christian denominations also prove by their sheer quantity how divided the body of Christ is.
Yet, Christian faith is to be reconciling. A belief that does not distinguish between race or gender, biography or wealth or social position. A belief that focuses on the sick and the poor just as it does on the rich and the healthy. A belief for which all human beings are creatures of God and are assured of His infinite love. Christian faith does not say, “Yes, but …,” but rather, “Yes, that’s certain!” Whoever loves the sinner because God loves him is a Christian. Whoever puts the stones down instead of throwing them is a Christian.
Being a Christian – an agenda
The name says it all. Being a Christian means following the example of Christ, living the love of God, and letting the wind of the Holy Spirit blow—all these are characteristics of Christian brothers and sisters. Thinking sisterly and brotherly means praying for others, singing with others, hoping with others, and honouring our neighbour. This is what makes brothers and sisters in Christ.
Whoever lives like this honours God.
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