我們可以確信，不論外面的朋友與你有多麼親密，他們永遠無法如自己的兄弟姊妹一樣的真摯親密。古老的諺語說 ” 血濃於水 ” 。許多父母也許會認為，家庭裏的愛和親情是一種天生的本能，不需要推動。事實並非如此，父母必須毫無隱藏地表達對孩子的愛。這些犧牲付出，訓誡管教，無私與疼愛，為他人著想的過程，同樣都將家人的心緊密的針織相連起來。家人的心被針織相連並不代表他們就會有關愛的心，除非在家庭生活中有實際的示範，孩子們得到了清楚的教導模樣，才會效仿。當他們聽到父母說 ” 對不起 ” ， ” 請你原諒 ” 與” 我愛你 “時 ，這些孩子們永遠不會忘記的功課。
查爾斯與瑪莉.蘭姆（Charles and Mary Lamb）的事蹟，是一個經常被人談起的故事。瑪莉在一次精神錯亂當中誤殺了她的母親。從那以後，她經常遭受復發暴力精神錯亂的折磨。這症狀發作前會有前兆預警，當這些症狀被確認時，查爾斯和瑪麗兩人就會一起前往精神院看護所，在那裡，瑪麗必須被關禁一段時日。一位他們的朋友說，有次他經過那裡，不期然看見查爾斯查牽著瑪莉的手，在瘋人病院的林間小徑走著，兄妹兩人痛苦的流著淚。這是查爾斯所擔負的一個試煉，這試煉不是一年或兩年，乃是長達35年。一直以來用愛心與耐心照顧妹妹。是的！哥哥應該是妹妹的保護者！
今天的社會，年輕男孩和女孩所面對的最大挑戰，即是保持自身的純潔。他們聽人說，“每個人都在做啊”。。。。你知道嗎？那是句謊言！假設我們說“每個人都在吸毒”，這就能造成那件事的正確嗎? 不! 絕對不能！對每一位年輕男孩與女孩而言，保持一個純潔的，道德的生命是很困難，但，這是年輕人必須做的抉擇。會有來自各方的壓力要逼你在壓力之下臣服。但是，上帝對你說，“不要將你們的肢體獻給罪作不義的器具．倒要像從死裏復活的人、將自己獻給 神．並將肢體作義的器具獻給 神。” (羅馬書 6 : 13)
誘惑的試探在一個年輕男孩身上的，通常比在一個年輕女孩的更微妙，更是強烈。然而，要記住一句很重要的經文，在哥林多前書第10章3節，“你們所遇見的試探，無非是人所能受的； 神是信實的，必不叫你們受試探過於所能受的．在受試探的時候、總要給你們開一條出路、叫你們能忍受得住” 。
每個妹妹都能在這方面幫助弟兄。她可以有行為和態度的榜樣為典範，妹妹的純潔甜美，迷人的美好記憶自然會深深的烙印在哥哥腦海裏，成為盾牌與哥哥一起出門，保護著哥哥。當邪惡誘惑他時，他會想起妹妹的聖潔形象，自然而然就討厭憎惡那些誘惑人的女性。毫無疑問的，這似乎值得每一個女孩努力，努力在她哥哥的生命中具有這樣的影響。她可以讓美德顯得如此吸引人，讓哥哥能時常遠離罪惡。再棒的誇讚也比不上聽到哥哥說他想結婚的對象就是要像妹妹這樣品德的女人了。“ 才德的婦人誰能得著呢．她的價值遠勝過珍珠．” (箴 31 : 10)
同樣的，每個兄弟都應該在姐姐妹妹表現出他優秀，清潔，高尚的男子氣概。他的性格和言語以及他基督徒品行的見證，應該是一個明確的準繩，作為姐妹在尋找伴侶的標準。 ” 善人從他心裏所存的善、就發出善來．惡人從他心裏所存的惡、就發出惡來．因為心裏所充滿的、口裏就說出來。 ” （路加福音6:45）。因此，當她選擇丈夫時，哥哥的模範將會引導她去選這樣的男人。由於她哥哥的生命表現和高尚的品格，她的理想將會如此高，唯有好品行的人才有希望能夠贏得她的芳心;她也因此受到守護。
現今世代我們非常的需要有“護衛者”。許多地方諸如電視，雜誌和網絡都充斥著色情。其他的很多公共場所，道德標準已經低到災難的程度了。“弟兄們、我還有未盡的話。凡是真實的、可敬的、公義的、清潔的、可愛的、有美名的．若有甚麽德行、若有甚麽稱贊、這些事你們都要思念。”(腓利比書 4 : 8)。 許多女孩子沒有意識到自己的重大責任和巨大機會。一個國家有多麼強可以從其國民女性的地位如何而看出來。男人的成就往往取決於女人如何鞭策他們。我們不想把過重的責任放在女性的肩上；但事實是，家庭裡的姐妹們和女人一般掌握著他們弟兄的命運，遠遠超過她們自己所意識到的。
Children in the Home – Building Bonds
“Children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Nothing is more thrilling than to look upon a newborn baby, which God has entrusted to you. It is an awesome responsibility that God has placed in your hands as husband and wife. This is a person you will teach and mold by example. Nothing is more wonderful than to hear them laughing, singing, and sometimes crying as they learn the joys and lessons of life. Studies have revealed that 85% percent of the influence on a child’s life comes from the home. They will be what your home is. They will be introduced to God and His word, both by your teaching and by your lifestyle. Most likely their physical and eternal destiny lies in your hands. Throughout your life, they must be at the top of your daily prayer list.
There are also heartaches because children have a will. They may make choices that are clearly wrong. It may break your heart. However, should they go astray, remember the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24. Surely the father spent many sleepless nights praying and wondering about his boy. He was always looking down the road for his son to return to his house. When he returned, forgiveness was in the heart of his father who would not even let his son finish telling how sorry he was. That is the heart of a true Christian parent.
The story is told of a man who tore down one of his farm buildings that stood for more than twenty years. It left a bare, unattractive spot, but as April came and the sun and rain fell upon the place where the building had stood, the owner was surprised to find innumerable flowers springing up. These seeds had evidently been there all the time, but lack of rain and sun had prevented their growth and blossom. Many homes have in them just such possibilities of undeveloped beauty.
Affection and Oneness
We had a policy in our home that the children could ask any question, at any time, they wanted to. In fact, we encouraged them to share anything, and they had a right to disagree with things that we said. However, we always had this policy, “Everything is debatable, but not always negotiable”. As my children grew older, these times led to great biblical discussions. We knew this was making them think! It was confirming to them what we believed and what the Bible taught. We always had a policy with our children that if the they wanted to talk, we were ready to talk. Often at bedtime they had a question, maybe not that they really wanted an answer, but rather did not want to go to sleep. However, we always used this time, because if they were interested in talking, we were interested in listening.
One of the greatest failures in homes is that parents do not communicate with their children. Too often, brothers and sisters go outside the home and seek advice from their closest friends. Sometimes they ask questions that are not being answered at home, or are afraid to ask in the home. The friend may not be one’s brother or sister, but a neighborhood boy or girl who may give wrong answers. The reason for this may be obvious.
Often the family life, by its very character of close and almost constant association, may tend to lose a bit of its interest and freshness. Children must understand that their best friends are their own sisters and brothers. Friends come and go, but family is forever.
We can be assured that no matter how close a relationship is between friends outside the home, that they can never be as true and close of the relationships between brothers and sisters. “Blood is thicker than water,” runs the old proverb. Many parents may think that family love and affection is a kind of instinct and does not need development. Nothing could be further from the truth. The parents must openly demonstrate it. The same process of sacrifice, discipline, unselfishness and loving consideration of others knits hearts to hearts in the home.
Just because hearts are knitted together does not mean they will necessarily be loving hearts, unless there is a demonstration and example clearly taught and lived in the home. Hearing the words of the father and mother saying, “I’m sorry,” “Forgive me,” and “I love you” are lessons they will never forget.
A Brother Should Be a Guard and Defender to His Sister
The story of Charles and Mary Lamb is a familiar story that has often been told. In a sudden fit of insanity, the sister took the life of her own mother. From that time on, she was subject to recurring fits of violent insanity. There were premonitory symptoms, and when these were discerned, Charles and Mary would go, hand in hand, to the asylum, where for a time, she must be confined.One of their friends tells how he suddenly came upon Charles and Mary who were weeping bitterly as they walked hand in hand down the little woodland path to the madhouse. This was a trial that Charles Lamb bore, not for one or two years, but for thirty-five years – all of the time in love and patience. Yes! a brother is to be the protector of his sister!
There is another way in which he will protect her. Every young man knows the young men who are impure and wicked. He will not stand by and see such a young man become the companion of his pure sister. He will, if he is a true brother, warn her of the other man’s character. A sister will do well to heed and seek a brother’s counsel about the men with whom she would form close friendships. Likewise, a brother will do well to talk confidentially and frankly with his sister about the young women with whom he is considering dating. Girls know girls and boys know boys. A sister will know if a girl is true and worthy of her brother’s consideration or if she is covering up her true character in a female seduction of him. A true sister will know and tell her brother these things, and the brother will do likewise for his sister.
A Sister & Brother Will Be an Inspiration of Purity and Virtue to Each Other
The greatest challenge a young man or woman faces today is keeping them selves pure. They hear, “everyone is doing it”. That is a lie! Let’s suppose we say everyone is taking drugs. Does that make it right. No! A pure, moral life is hard for every young man and women to keep, however, it is a choice they must make. There is pressure on every side to yield. God says, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).
Temptations tests a young man, often more subtly and powerfully than it does a young woman. However, a great verse to memorize is I Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Every sister has an opportunity to be helpful here! She can be an example in actions and attitude, so pure and sweetly attractive, that the memory of her character will go with her brother out into the world and serve him as a shield of defense. When evil tempts him, the thoughts of his sister will rise up as an example before him, bringing sheer disgust and loathing for the temptress. Surely it would seem to be worthwhile for every girl to seek to have this abiding influence in her brother’s life. She can make virtue so attractive that he will always be repelled by vice. She could have no higher compliment than for a brother to say that he wants to marry someone with character like his sister. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).
Every brother should set before his sister the example of fine, clean, noble manhood. His character and language, along with his Christian testimony, should be a clear guideline as to the standard that she is looking for in a man. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). Therefore, his example will guide her when she chooses a husband. Because of the life and character of her brother, her ideals will be so high that none but the most worthy may hope to win her; so will she be safeguarded.
The word “safeguard” is greatly needed today. Standards in many places such as on television, magazines and the Internet are riddled with pornography. Many other public venues are disastrously low in regard to moral things. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Many girls fail to realize their great opportunity and responsibility. A nation never rises any higher than its women, and men are only as good as women compel them to be. We don’t want to put an undue weight of responsibility upon the shoulders of women, however, the fact is that sisters in the home and women in general hold in their hands the destinies of their brothers and other young men far more than they often realize
Brothers and sisters should preserve their mutual love and attachment through the years. It is easy to drift apart. Change of residence from one part of the country to another, together with the growth of families and diverging interests and responsibilities make it difficult to keep the their ties close, warm and firm. However, It can be done. We have means of instant communications like no other time in history, emails, phones and instant messaging. If there is a question, either should feel free to ask for counsel. It should be done; and in many Christian families it is being done. Brothers and sisters, with their common heritage, their mutual blessings and memories of home should bond together. The family is a God-ordained unit and will stand not only through this world, but also through all eternity. Let us then live with a sense of responsibility and love with mutual patience and helpfulness, that we may be better prepared for the life there.
If your family ties have become lax, if coldness and indifference, or misunderstanding and criticism, have crept into your relationships that were once close and, I strongly admonish you to do what you can to restore the relationship. A phone call, written letter or email may be the first step toward the restoration of the old ties. Think about this.