The Christian should try to be as popular as possible without compromising biblical doctrine and morals.
Some Christians measure faithfulness by how much other people hate them; others put friendliness above faithfulness.
However the Christian should aim for maximum faithfulness and maximum friendliness, just as the teenage Jesus grew in favor with God AND man (Lk. 2:52). His heavenly relationship developed and deepened in tandem with his earthly relationships. His spiritual growth coincided with his social growth, and the latter did not compromise the former but rather revealed and strengthened it.
And where did Jesus learn, practice, and mature His social skills? Primarily in His family home, His family relationships, and the family business.
The home and family continues to be the primary place our children learn to “grow in favor with man;” to love their neighbors; the hardest neighbors of all to love; the ones nearest to us; yes, our brothers and sisters.
But how do we measure that? How can we help our children to grow in favor with their brothers and sisters? Here are five loving actions I want to see my kids developing in their relationships with each other.
Communication: Yes, simply sitting down and talking to one another, even just for a few minutes. “What did you do today? How’s school going?, etc.”
Congratulation: Rejoicing when her brother rejoices. Enjoying his sister’s victories and successes. “Well done, I’m so happy for you.”
Commiseration: Weeping with those who weep. Expressing sympathy and sorrow when things don’t turn out so well. “I’m so so sorry, where does it hurt? Can I do anything to make it better?”
Contribution: Blessing them with generous presents and gifts. “Here, I’d like you to have the last piece of cheesecake.”
Collaboration: Working together rather than fighting together.”Can I help you…Would you help me, please?”
Or to put int simply: Speak, Rejoice, Weep, Give, Help.
It’s stunning to think of Jesus growing perfectly in all these areas in His family life as He prepared for wider social life and ministry.
The perfect combination of maximum friendliness and maximum faithfulness.
The best big brother ever.