How can I get along with my sister?
For a long time, I struggled to get along with one of my sisters. I felt like she was purposefully trying to annoy me and it seemed like my parents were always taking her side. It started to get really frustrating. I felt like I wasn’t being heard, my parents were being unjust, and I was mad at myself for not finding a way to resolve the issue.
It wasn’t until I went to Christian Science Sunday School one Sunday that I realized that I could pray about what was going on—and that prayer could actually help me solve this problem. My Sunday School teacher usually asks our class if we have any questions, so that Sunday I asked if she could share some ideas that could help me pray about the situation with my sister.
My teacher reminded me of a story from the Bible about two brothers, Jacob and Esau. Jacob stole Esau’s birthright, and Esau was mad enough to kill him. But when the brothers met years later, Esau didn’t attack Jacob as Jacob had feared. Instead, they were able to reconcile. The reconciliation happened because God brought about a change of character in Jacob and a change of heart in Esau (see Genesis 25–33).
I wondered if peace between my sister and me was even achievable.
I loved this story and how it related to my situation. In spite of all the dislike that had built up between the brothers over the years, with God’s help, it only took one moment for them to forgive each other. They were able to let go of the past so quickly. I did pray with this story in mind, but sometimes it felt like peace between my sister and me still wasn’t achievable.
Things started to change when I went away to be a counselor at a summer camp for Christian Scientists. One day, I was having a discussion about Christian Science with my campers, and the topic of the Old Testament in the Bible, in contrast to New Testament, came up. One big difference we discussed is that in the New Testament, Jesus really brought to light the sense of God as Love. And we talked about how powerful it is to know that love doesn’t originate in people, but in God, divine Love. That’s what makes unconditional love, or loving no matter what, possible—because it comes from a higher source than just us.
This got me thinking about my sister. I realized that since I’m the expression of Love, and so is my sister, then in reality, there could only be love between us. Even if there was something that she did that I didn’t agree with, Love is a constant, and as Love’s expression, I had this unconditional love to give and I could continue to love her. This didn’t mean ignoring things that weren’t OK. But it did mean I could trust that by loving, we could see some sort of healing or resolution to those things, just like Esau and Jacob did.
When I came home from camp, I noticed a big change between us almost right away. The problems had faded and almost all our arguments just stopped. And when my parents took her side, I found I was able to see things from a different perspective. I realized that it didn’t matter—because God’s love for me never stops or changes. I still had all the love I needed, even if my parents didn’t see my point of view.
No matter how long you’ve had a difficult relationship with someone, healing is always possible.
A line from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy helped me to understand that peace between my sister and me could continue to be the norm. It says, “. . . Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history” (p. 471). I could see how all along, there truly had been peace between my sister and me. I’d just needed to understand what was true about us—that Love is in charge of our relationship.
Now, over a year later, my sister and I get along well and are able to confide in each other and joke around. Even if we disagree every now and then, we know that we can figure it out together. And we do.
This experience taught me that no matter how long you’ve had a difficult relationship with someone, healing is always possible. The peace and forgiveness that proved true for Jacob and Esau, also proved true for me. And they can prove true for everyone in the world, because God’s law of love is ever present.