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October 14, 2020 at 7:21 pm #17525Heather GriffinModerator
Women of faith are referred to as sisters and we all accept this as such. But have you ever asked why? Where does this designation come from? What does it mean? What does scripture say about it? What does sisterhood looks like within the body? What are the benefits and how does being a sister bring you closer to Yahweh?
The word sister comes from the greek word ἀδελφή (adelphē) pronounced ä-del-fa’.
STRONGS NT 79: ἀδελφή ἀδελφή, -ῆς, ἡ (see ἀδελφός) (from Aeschylus down), sister; 1- A full, own sister (i. e. by birth): Matthew 19:29; Luke 10:39; John 11:1, 3, 5; John 19:25; Romans 16:15, etc.; respecting the sisters of Yeshua, mentioned in Matthew 13:56; Mark 6:3, see ἀδελφός, 2- One connected by the tie of the Christian religion: 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Philemon 1:2 L T Tr WH; James 2:15; with a subjective genitive, a Christian woman especially dear to one, Romans 16:1.
Scripture doesn’t speak much directly about sisterhood but we do see examples and can glean lessons throughout the whole book.
Why do we need sisters in our lives?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says:
9. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12. And if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
I found this quote from a book that truly puts it into perspective:
“Sharing a common life together is not about doing activities but about sharing life. Spiritual life. It is about working together to bring about Yahweh’s Kingdom purposes. It is about serving together, helping each other through trials, lifting each other up when we fall, praying for one another, urging one another in the faith. And ultimately, it is reflecting Yahuah in our love for one another, imaging Him to the fallen world around us.”
Some examples of sisterhood
Sisterhood may come with a cost or inconvenience to one’s self but the reward, the joy, that comes from giving of self far outweighs the cost. Luke chapter one, for example, recounts the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Immediately after the angel Gabriel left her, Mary “got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-40).” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for “about three months (Luke 1:56).” Making a journey, living in another town, and caring for her pregnant relative while being newly pregnant herself cannot have been easy. However, the joy Elizabeth and Mary find in supporting one another and being together is clear and reciprocal. Elizabeth is built up and inspired by Mary’s faith in Yahweh’s ability to do what he has promised. Mary likewise is built up and inspired by witnessing Yahweh’s activity in Elizabeth’s life. We all need to experience this type of sisterhood in order to remember and remind each other that our hope and our faith is in the Father, “for nothing is impossible with Yahweh (Luke 1:37).”
The story of Ruth and Naomi from the Old Testament Book of Ruth, is another example of two women who walked in obedience to Yahweh and supported each other in being faithful to Him. In particular, Ruth supported Naomi by going to the fields and gleaning grain to provide food for Naomi. Naomi was not a young woman and could not do this for herself. Additionally, the Book of Ruth (Chapter 2, verse 11), explains how Ruth cared for her mother-in-law when her husband had passed away. Ruth left her father and mother and her homeland for Naomi’s sake and came to live with Naomi’s people, who were Israelites, a people she did not know before. There may be times when we might find ourselves in Ruth’s or Naomi’s shoes. Like Naomi we sometimes find ourselves in situations where we cannot provide or care for ourselves. In such circumstances, we need to accept the service of others, whether that be requesting others to intercede on our behalf or requesting practical, tangible services. Like Ruth we may be in a position to offer some personal service for another person in need. Hopefully our service and expression of love will be visible to others and be a witness to the joy that comes from being obedient to Yahweh.
Recipe for sisterhood
What inner characteristics or dispositions do we ourselves need in order to be good sisters to others? Here are a few. The first are faith and trust. These allow us to rely on Yahweh’s promises and provision for us and therefore we are unafraid. When we lack faith and trust we become self-seeking, stingy, selfish, and grasping. We fail to love. Second we need love: The type of love that gives me the ability to serve outside of myself, place Yahweh and others first and myself third. We want to have the disposition of doing all the good to others that we can. This attitude of self-less service, kindness, and doing good deeds is unusual in today’s world and has the power to transform those around us. Third we need quietness and strength, the inner attitude of calmness and peacefulness in our hearts. This disposition is born from faith and trust in Yahweh. It helps us to be open to learning, growing, and be persuaded towards holiness, service, and love. Our wish to learn and grow is driven by our desire to be acceptable to Yahweh rather than the world around us. Looking to Yahweh for acceptance frees us from competition and comparisons, thereby allowing us to more fully give of ourselves and love others.
Sisterhood in practice
As women we are naturally inclined to be very sensitive and aware to spiritual things, and we can be quickly inspired. We read atmosphere, body language, and have a sense for emotions and the unspoken. We have unique gifts that are essential for building unity in the body (conversely we can also, if we choose, pull the body apart, make divisions, and cause disunity through bad speech, gossip, back-biting, etc.). We are naturally disposed to emphasize the personal dimensions of relationships, to reach out and make personal connections, and to form loyal friendships. As women we create a supportive environment that fosters growth, safety, and cares for the well-being of others.
Such an intentional approach can feel somewhat counter-intuitive, as though somehow by being intentional we are being disingenuous. I would argue, instead, that by being intentional we are showing how important this area really is to our spiritual life. Furthermore, being intentional about this area allows us to develop habits of relating. Hopefully after behaving like a sister I will also start to feel more sisterly, and these behavior patterns will become much more my automatic response.
I pray that this group becomes a blessing and a source of strength and unity for all of us.
- This topic was modified 5 days, 1 hour ago by Moisés Pérez.
- This topic was modified 5 days, 1 hour ago by Moisés Pérez.
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