ENCOURAGING OUR BROTHERS
Reprinted from Volume 6#1
Editor's Note: As we celebrate 10 years of KBR's publication, we thought it would be interesting to reprint some of the key articles that were printed in past issues of KBR, that are now out of print. This article is excellent and challenges us to invest in our brothers more diligently!
by Tiffany S.
Brothers. The word brings to mind six young men whose friendships I treasure dearly. These boys (my brothers) are among my best friends; I love them so much!
It is one thing to relish every moment with a person and think highly of him; it is quite another matter to work at encouraging that person and uplifting him. Just how can we encourage our brothers?
In what areas should we encourage our brothers? Hebrews 10:24–25 instructs, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works...but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Paul’s life goal, to be found in Christ and to know Him more1, should be our motto as well. I heartily believe that we should be encouraging our brothers in their walk with Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:3–4 says, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints.” Do we pray for our brothers? If nothing else can be done for the cause of strengthening their relationship with Christ, every Christian girl can fervently intercede for her brothers. Our brothers face difficulties in this world; they need our prayers! Earlier this year, it was an immense blessing to pray for Ethan’s salvation with intense eagerness—and then to rejoice with him the day that Jesus became his Savior. This is one of the most special memories I cherish of my relationship with Ethan. Yet each day gets better as his walk with Christ deepens. My prayer for him, and all my brothers, is Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
We also encourage our brothers by our gentleness with them. David said in Psalm 18:35, “Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.” Though girls with younger brothers are sometimes tempted to “boss them around,” it is important to remember that the Lord created men to be leaders, and that we should support that quality in our brothers’ lives by allowing them opportunities to lead and make decisions. Furthermore, because gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit2, we should always be striving to exhibit this quality. Frankly, I have a genuine love for my brothers and a need for their companionship. I think it is good for girls to demonstrate this instead of attempting to “change their brothers’ lives.” Brothers do not appreciate sisters’ nagging, pushing, or bickering. They are more likely to grow in Christ by her wise and loving example and her gentle, loving words of encouragement.
Demonstrating love is the best encouragement—and this fruit of the Spirit is multi-faceted!3 One significant attribute of love is that it does not seek its own. How often do we put our brothers’ interests before ours?4 Do we endeavor to treat them like men by affirming and respecting them? Do we unselfishly take time to ask about or get involved in their projects, hobbies, work, and life goals? Do we seek ways to serve them as Galatians 5:13 instructs? Since actions speak louder than words, our brothers are likely to learn a great deal through a gentle, humble, serving, loving, and respectful sister.
Acknowledging our brothers’ spiritual growth is an excellent way to spur them on in the steps of Christ.5 When they treat us with respect or endeavor to protect us, it is critical that we thank them. When they are faced with a difficult decision and overcome fleshly desires, we should make a point of showing our joy and admiration. I sometimes share observations of godly men with my brothers. “Today I read about James Garfield and was impressed at how he refused to go to the sea as a young man without his mother’s consent.” I occasionally even point out godly qualities in their friends that I have noticed. It is helpful for our brothers to learn to recognize godly and ungodly qualities in other men and to see how much a godly man is appreciated. I desire to encourage my brothers to be men after God’s own heart—who will “stand in the gap” and fully accomplish the Lord’s will for their lives as referred to in Ezekiel 22:30 and Acts 13:22.
Following are some practical pointers that I have found to be constructive in my relationship with my brothers.
Take interest in their hobbies or work. By relishing time with your brothers, you will rarely find their interests boring. One thing I enjoy is spending time in Justin’s shop as he works, which usually results in a discussion of what’s going on in the house, in our lives, or with his business. Gideon currently has a love for letter-writing—this provides me a great outlet to communicate with and minister to Gideon! Ethan recently became a Christian, so one of our favorite things to do together is read and study God’s Word. To the twins I am “Ti-Ti”; they are tons of fun—we find our favorite pastimes to be the trampoline, reading books, housework, and Mr. Potato Head. And although Nathan is only one year old, he is already beginning to learn that I am his big sister; sometimes when I come home from being gone for awhile, his face will break into a big grin as he quickly crawls over to me! These are just a few of the ways I enjoy being a part of my brothers’ lives—and I love to laugh with them.6 I cannot stress the importance of “simply” treasuring every moment God grants and making it count.
Many girls have shared that their brothers often fail to treat them like ladies. My question is, what is their focus? Are they seeking to take instead of give? Do they treat their brothers like men? Do they willingly serve their brothers? Do they thank their brothers when their brothers act kindly? Even a young boy is a “little man” and will appreciate being treated as such. An important Scripture to apply in any relationship is Matthew 7:12, which says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” As a girl’s selfishness wanes and she treats her brothers as hard-working men (instead of as children or boys), she will probably find that her brothers will begin treating her like a lady on their own initiative. This is because they will realize that they should take their duty seriously. Your dependence on them may result in their assuming greater responsibility and becoming more dependable. As we follow the Lord’s will for us, we find that He does above and beyond all that we could ask or think!7
I am careful to never say anything to my friends or to my brothers’ friends that could hurt my brothers. I want them to know that they can trust me with anything they tell me—or anything they do. Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue; I desire to exercise a life-giving tongue by always speaking well of and to my brothers. Dear girls, give your brothers a good reputation—that will mean so much to them. Never say anything that would embarrass, belittle, or hurt them.
Men, though they sometimes are quieter than girls, need affirmation and respect. For this reason, I find things to praise and compliment about my brothers. Occasional criticism could prove constructive, but even that should be done in a loving, considerate way. I especially look for spiritual growth and godliness to encourage my brothers in, since these are the most important qualities they can improve. While it is certainly not right to cut down others in an effort to build our brothers up (comparison to others should be carefully avoided), it may be encouraging to your brother to say something like, “One thing our church lacks is young men who respect their elders. I’m so glad you are setting an example in that area! That could be helpful to the boys who are younger than you.”
Proverbs 27:17 describes how a friendship should work—each companion sharpening one another through exhortation. My brothers and I have found the Word of God to be a sure foundation to build our relationship upon. When meeting for breakfast, we sometimes exchange gleanings from our quiet times. I encourage you to “sharpen” your brothers by humbly sharing how the Lord is working on your heart. Hearing God’s faithfulness in your life will teach and motivate them in their own walk with Christ. Ask your brothers questions. Get to know their preferences. No matter how old your brother is, if he is a Christian, he will be happy to pray for your spiritual weaknesses.J I think our brothers are encouraged when we ask for their help and share that we need their prayers.
Boys today don’t hear much about biblical principles and godly convictions, outside their family and preferably their church. I try to incorporate these things into our daily life through comments like, “Ethan, I was so pleased to see the way you did not argue or complain about the assignments you were given today. It reminds me of the verse, ‘Do all things without murmuring or complaining.’ Great job!” I also jump at opportunities for discussion with my brothers about what the Lord has taught me about basic life principles, biblical womanhood, and godly character. In turn, they will usually share what God has shown them concerning these areas. I’m not their teacher and don’t attempt to take on that role; I simply share—and learn what God has shown them—as opportunities arise. Our brothers need to hear their sisters speak highly of being submissive, godly daughters and women of the future. Through our godly ambitions and desire for spiritual growth, we are offering our brothers a glimpse of the virtuous woman’s qualities in Proverbs 31 for when they seek God’s will concerning a wife.
I cherish the time my brothers and I spend together edifying one another in the ways of Christ. It is a pleasure to discuss God’s Word, His faithfulness, and His goodness with brothers who love the Lord God with all their heart, soul, and might.8 It is an unspeakable joy to watch them grow into faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ.9
The brother-sister relationship is sweet, pure, and a wonderful blessing. As you seek to love and encourage your brothers, remember that they are the future of our nation; we need a godly future. Praise the Lord for the beautiful privilege you have to be a part of their lives and to help shape their future. Take advantage of this special season of life when you and your brothers have much time together. Right now you may not see all the ways you are influencing your brothers, but some day it will shine through—and you will be extremely grateful that you exerted energy, time, thought, and prayer into your brothers’ lives.
notes · 1Phil. 3:7–10; 2Gal. 5:22–23; 3Read 1 Corinthians 13 for a complete description of love; 4Philippians 2:1–11; 51 Peter 2:21; 6See Prov. 17:22; 7See Eph. 3:17–21; 8Deut. 6:5; 92 Tim. 2:3.
© 2015 KBR Ministries.