One of the conference sessions Emelie and I found very refreshing and challenging was listening to the Malley siblings of Tomorrow's Forefathers called Peace Treaties in the Living Room. It is the sequel to their book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, which I highly recommend!
I will hardly be able to give their message justice, especially considering the beautiful harp music and amazing chalk drawing of the second half, but here's a summary of how to help improve sibling relationships:
We shouldn’t be looking for an irritation-free environment, because God has put us together in families to grow us. Our family can’t function without every member in it. Irritations prepare us for the future.
In dealing with conflict, respond correctly to irritations:
• Accept them as from the Lord
• Surrender our rights (our time or possessions) because everything belongs to God
• Learn to look past the irritation
• See the needs of the person causing the irritation
• View the irritation as a test from the Lord
Don’t disguise the problem
• Be sure that you're not being bothered by an outside problem and taking out on the sibling
Correct past offenses
• Make sure that you have confessed past sins to each other so as to not harm future relationships
Keep your conscience clear
Learn to show mercy
• Mathew 5:7 - Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
• Micah 6:8 - He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Develop creative strategies to resolve conflict
Overcome evil with good – do exactly the opposite of what we naturally want to do
To be continued...