What Makes a Sibling?

We recently had a discussion that got into the area of defining who is our brother and sister. Is this something we are responsible for trying to define? If so, what is our criteria? Is there a single list of criteria that everyone must use? Feel free to comment here with your thoughts, scriptures to support, etc.

What Makes a Sibling?

4 thoughts on “What Makes a Sibling?

  1. driftingluke says:

    I don’t believe this sort of question can be answered fairly by simply having someone answer a list of criteria. I find out who my spiritual siblings are by spending time with someone. Over time, we discover and build on our mutual goals, etc. or we discover that we don’t have much to build on together, spiritually speaking. By their fruits you will know your siblings?


  2. If someone denies the resurrection of Christ, I personally cannot call them my sibling in Christ. But other than that, I don’t believe there’s a basis for having a list of sorts….

    Regardless, it seems counterproductive to the cause of Christ to approach my interactions with others in the manner of “I better determine if this person is a REAL Christian.” Rather, I prefer to assume that if they proclaim Christ as Lord that they are genuine, unless anything comes up that proves otherwise as I get to know them better, as Colby suggested.


  3. brent says:

    This is an interesting subject to me. From the way I currently see this, I don’t think it’s my ‘duty’ as a follower of Christ to go around trying to figure out who is my brother or sister in Christ. There are really two parts of this; who God counts as part of his family and who we count. I can get to know people and count them as brothers and sisters, and they can count me as one, but I can’t say with absolute certainty that my limited knowledge of another person’s heart equates to what God knows of each of us, and the same for others who see me as a brother. Over time, and when you really get to know someone, you can be pretty certain about some people. I have a lot of confidence that Matt Pittman is my brother in Christ because I’ve known him for years. We’ve shared in our struggles and in our faith. We’ve laughed together, prayed together, and talked about all kinds of things. I’ve witnessed his faith in action, and I hope he’s witnessed mine to some extent.
    There are those I am just as confident are not my brothers or sisters. For instance, a friend of mine who I work with, talked with, and have played music with denies that God exists, and thinks the idea of the Bible, Jesus being the son of God, miracles, etc. is nothing more than fables. I am confident that he is not my brother in Christ.
    A third category would be those who I do not know, but who believe that Jesus is the son of God, died for their sins, and was risen from the dead. They pray to God in the name of Jesus, they meet with others who hold this belief. They earnestly attempt to do things that they believe the scriptures show are what God would have them do. They are sincerely seeking the truth, just as I hope I am. For those people, and as I am for them, I don’t believe it’s my business to speculate on whether or not God has added them to his family. Since they are meeting with other believers of Christ I would be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt as individuals, even though I may not agree with every minute detail of how they behave as an organization.
    In summary, it’s my contention that there is a short list of people I see as my brothers and sisters, because we are actually like brothers and sisters. We share a bond in Christ and we know each other, communicate with each other, and bear one another’s burdens. Although I know there are countless other brothers and sisters in Christ, I don’t find it my responsibility to figure out exactly who they are.
    There is another short list (though not quite as short due to technology) of people I do not see as my brothers and sisters, and that is because we do not share a bond in Christ.


  4. Love compels us to share the good news with others, in genuine humility. In Acts 8, Philip told the eunuch “the good news about Jesus” (v35). Next, the eunuch was baptized. Next, he rejoiced.

    I’m guessing that we are all convicted in our hearts about something. When that something relates to salvation, I believe it’s good to share the what and why of our convictions with others, and also listen and consider – honestly consider – what others believe. That’s what friends do.


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