John 10:10 (NLT) says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all it’s fullness.”
The enemy has come to destroy sisterhood. He wants to kill relationships and steal the powerful force when women come together. However, Jesus has come to give women life in all its fullness.
What is Sisterhood? Sisterhood is the affection and loyalty that women feel for other women who they have something in common with. Once women find true sisterhood, there’s nothing stronger and more life giving. I believe women are the glue in society. We hold relationships together, we hold families together, and we hold each other together. I believe we are called to fight for one another and not against each other. I believe we are called to love each other.
We are given numerous examples of thee true concept of Sisterhood in the Bible. These examples show us how to treat each other and be good Christian sisters, as well as instances of how we shouldn’t treat each other. I will discuss an example of a positive Christian sisterhood relationship and highlight 3 points which facilitate that bond. In contrast, I will discuss a negative relationship and highlight 3 points which destroys that bond. Last but definitely not least, I will share how sisterhood can be restored and reaffirmed through Christ.
Why is Sisterhood important?
Sisterhood is important because the bond facilities unity within the Church and the community. We provide each other a special bond of unconditional friendship and support through Christ. No one understands what a woman is going through but a woman. Women need other women to provide guidance and mentorship. Titus 2 verse 3-5 states “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” The Bible points out how women, no matter what stage in life they are, need each other and we must develop a relationship of trust and love to build a sisterhood.
1 Peter 3:8 says “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters.[a] Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” We need to build our sisterhood with love, humility, and being tender towards each other.
Deborah from Judges chapter 4 is a judge, prophet, and a leader. She was chosen by God to lead Israel in battle, but she couldn’t do it alone. She enlisted Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali to lead the armies, but he would not lead the armies without her. The war is fought and won by Israel, but the leader of the Canaanites, Sisera has run off.
Jael is the wife of Heber who are on friendly terms with the Israelites. She knew they were at war, and she knew who Sisera was when he came to her tent. She gave him some water, hooked him up with some milk and when he went to sleep, she drove a stake in his head. Thus, securing Israel’s victory over the Canaanites.
Here is the question, did Deborah and Jael know each other? I am sure that Jael knew of Deborah, but did Deborah know Jael? Does it matter? Do you have to personally know a sister to support them? No, you don’t. You can support your fellow sister without being asked. Jael knew the Israelites armies were being led by Deborah and Jael supported her by securing the win for Israel by driving the stake in Sisera’s head. No one asked her to do that, no one begged her and said, can you please support us. Gave her a pep talk and said, Now I know you don’t normally do this but can you please help a sista out real quick.No she saw an opportunity to support Deborah and she did it, and again without being asked.
There are 3 ways here that facilitated the sisterhood bond.
Number 1: Support is a pertinent factor in facilitating a sisterhood relationship. Jael supported her sister and from what I have read they did not know each other personally but the support was still there. We are the glue in society, we keep the community together, if Jael did not support Deborah do you think Israel would have had peace after that battle?
Number 2: Love, Jesus calls upon us to love one another as he loves us. Going back to the verse 1 Peter 3:8, the Love each other as brothers and sisters. I am sure Jael loved Deborah for being a prophet of the Lord and being a fair and honest judge, therefore she supported her because of the love and respect she had for her. Even though you may not know everyone in this room doesn’t mean that they don’t know you and how you present yourself as a woman or man in Christ. There are sisters here that love you for just being you.
Number 3: Loyalty. To have loyalty is to show yourself loyal. Being loyal means to stand shoulder to shoulder with your sister. Standing back-to-back with your sister ; having each other’s back when the arrows of the enemy fly in. When we as an army of women stand together it reduces the gaps in the wall where the enemy can sneak in. Jael stood shoulder to shoulder, back-to-back with Deborah and did not allow the enemy space to move…she was loyal to Deborah without being asked.
Remember, the enemy wants to come in and destroy our sisterhood. He wants us to fight with each other and not for each other.
In 1 Samuel 1:1-20 we are introduced to Hannah who was childless. Being a mother in that time was very important. As a matter of fact, your cultural value as a woman was based on your ability to bear children for your husband. Hannah was childless and even though her husband loved her, she felt the sting of not being able to have children. God had placed a desire on her heart to be a mother. She craved motherhood, cried out to God for it. Prayed and prayed to the point the High Priest Eli thought she was drunk, her desire was strong in her heart and it caused her deep pain that she did not have children.
Peninnah had numerous children. The Bible doesn’t say the number of children she had but she had them and Hannah didn’t. Therefore, she made fun of Hannah and teased her relentlessly about not having children. She picked at her and made fun of her. She probably had gotten all the women in the village to degrade her.
Penninah provoked Hannah so much that she stopped eating. I can imagine how Hannah felt… all alone with no support. Her own husband Elkanah didn’t understand her desire either. He would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” He was trying to make her feel better…talking about well you got me…Men don’t get it. But, we have to give him credit for trying... One thing is for sure…Hannah never stopped praying. The behavior that Peninnah displayed was not sisterhood. She fought with Hannah and not for Hannah, she did not be the glue to hold her together, She did not stand shoulder to shoulder…back-to-back with Hannah. She allowed the spears of the enemy to penetrate their relationship.
Three ways to destroy sisterhood are:
Number 1: Jealousy, Peninnah was jealous of Hannah. Back in those days men took more than one wife and Peninnah and Hannah had the same husband. Peninnah was jealous that Elkana their husband loved Hannah more even though she had all his children. Peninnah had been blessed with children but she wanted what Hannah had instead of focusing on the blessings God had given her.
Number 2: Gossip, there is nothing worse than going through something painful having your sister gossip about you and spreading your pain around. The Bible doesn’t say this, but I can imagine Penninah was spreading rumors like “Hannah isn’t no good” “she is not worthy to be a wife”. Trying to make herself feel better by putting her down because she was jealous. However, the Bible tells us not to gossip. Proverbs 16:28 says, “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife, gossip separates the best of friends.”
Number 3: Disrespect. Disrespect kills any relationship. Whether it is with your husband, parents, sibling, or co-worker being disrespectful means that you do not value that woman for being a child of God. Penninah did not treat her relationship with Hannah with respect, she instead taunted her and treated her with malice.
Who likes being disrespected? No one. We must treat each other with the utmost respect even if we don’t particularly “like” that sister, but we must love them in Christ. Going back to our scripture 1 Peter 3:8 it states to be compassionate. Being disrespectful is not compassion. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone Colossians 4:6. Having a disrespectful tongue towards your sister is not what Christ intended.
How do we heal?
How do we mend damaged sisterhood? Is there a sister that you use to be close to but for whatever reason she is has become someone you used to know?
We need to heal relationships that we allowed the enemy to destroy with his arrows of jealousy, gossip, and disrespect. We know those relationships. Sister so & so and you were really close until…
In order to heal three things must happen.
Number 1: Forgive, Not just those who hurt us, but to forgive ourselves for the hurt we caused others. Luke 17:3 says, “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” Talk through those differences then move on. Do not continue to rehash the past for you will not allow yourself nor the other sister to forgive fully and move forward. Do not hold to resentment; this hard but ask God to help you. Ask God to show you how to forgive this sister to move forward.
Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ.” Press on with Love.
Number 2: Love. I mentioned this as my point 2 on what we need to facilitate a positive sisterhood, but love is also what we need to restore the sisterhood. 1 Corinthians 13 4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Love heals.
Number 3. Last but definitely not least is Patience. Patience, nothing happens overnight. We think we
have forgiven someone then all of a sudden, we see them and all those emotions come running back and we are right back where we started. It is imperative that we are patient with our sisters and ourselves. Some of us grow faster than others, Timing is everything and God’s time is always the right time.
The Bible is our life handbook. It gives us all the answers we need to know in order to live for him and to full fill his will. Sisterhood is in the Bible; we are given numerous examples of how to treat each other. We discussed the relationship with Deborah and Jael and how they are a positive example of sisterhood. Their relationship even though they did not know each personally displayed support, love, and patience. In contrast, we discussed Hannah and Peninnah. Their relationship was a negative example of sisterhood or lack of sisterhood for their relationship was marred with jealousy, gossip, and disrespect.
I believe in women uplifting other women. We will never be uplifting if we are putting others down to lift ourselves up. Instead of being kind and encouraging at times we look for ways to criticize. As a group that makes us weak. But if we can become women who encourage, love, support, and are loyal to each other we truly will be a force to be reckoned with.
Mrs. Felisha Lubin