A certain man, Lazarus, was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha…So the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.” – John 11:1, 3
Mary and her sister Martha had an interesting relationship. In Luke, these two sisters, who were so different personality-wise, are fractured (Luke 10:38-42). In John, they seem to get along better. They unite to help their brother, and later Mary anoints Jesus’ feet while Martha contentedly serves dinner.
Imagine that they’ve overcome their differences. The sibling rivalry has dissolved. Being around Jesus, seeing his love and hearing his teachings, have changed them, personally and as sisters.
I would guess, if you were to interview them later in their lives, they would have quite a bit to say about how love can be lived out in a family.
Love is going beyond my needs to meet your needs. It means you give up some things for your family member.
Love is giving up my need to be right, so you can be right. Humility is a wonderful–and difficult–thing.
Love is giving up my need to be first, so you can be first. Maybe cooperation, instead of competition, is a more important virtue for siblings.
Love is giving up my need for attention, so you can have the attention. There is enough love to go around.
Love is giving up my need for payback, so you can have forgiveness. Being the first to forgive changes things.
I don’t know a better place for living out the love Christ embodied and taught than in the family. Sometimes we seem more loving to outsiders than to the ones living inside our walls. But when we really love family members as ourselves, we can then authentically love others.
What would you add to the characteristics of family love?