Pascal Portoukalian / My brother, my sister, who are you? What are you for?

The term brother and sister is a term widely used in many circles. Freemasons call each other " brothers ". In the cities, we are commonly called "Brother" ou " Bro ". This term also appears in Islam. And it also joins the vocabulary of churches: people who recognize themselves as members of the Christian community call each other " brothers " ou "Sisters", term that is sometimes declined in "Brother in Christ" ou “Brother in the faith”. So what does it mean to be brothers in the church?

Cit means first of all that we are children of the same parents, and in the circumstances, children of the same father: God. You don't choose your brothers and sisters. On the other hand, there are relational implications inherent in the status of brother and sister. Whether I like it or not, my blood siblings are part of my family. And this will be the case until the end of our life: it is a given that is imposed on us. Am I still okay with my blood sister? Not at all ! Have there ever been sparks between us? More than one time ! And yet she is my sister, I am her brother. And this simple fact creates relationships between us. All brothers and sisters have a mutual bond, even if they do not maintain it, and even if they consider that there is no longer any.

In all the churches, there are brothers and sisters who are more complicated to take care of than the others.
In all the churches, there are brothers and sisters who are more complicated to take care of than the others. You know, these people to whom we would have no reason to go spontaneously: those who criticize, those who do nothing like us, those who are slow to understand, those who complain all the time, those who repeat everything to others… I am perhaps one of those also for some of my brothers and sisters. The church is a real melting pot of different people: by age, culture, social conditions, life history, family and professional situations, and of course characters. And yet, all these people recognize themselves as brothers and sisters, as children of the same Father. And then there is the extended family: the brothers and sisters from the churches next door: those who don't think quite like me, who don't speak to God exactly like me.

Being brothers and sisters is not a guarantee of perfect understanding. I have 3 children, who are between 7 and 10 years old. The other evening, while praying with them, one of them said to me:

“Me daddy, I say amen for everything except the moment when you said 'thank you for our family. "

This remark opened up a discussion about the family: what is it? What's the point ? And each of my 3 children started to react. They all agreed on one point: their brothers and sisters were bad, painful, annoying. In short: they were not as they would like, and above all, they were not like them.

The family gives the opportunity to meetBut the family in general, and the brothers and sisters in particular, give this opportunity to meet, in a common framework, people in contact with whom we will learn to play together, to listen, to confront our differences, to defend an opinion. , to accept being wrong, to leave room for the other, to share, to see that the other has needs different from me, and to respect that.

An assemblage of imperfect peopleWhat my children learn from each other is what brothers and sisters in churches learn together too. The church, like the family, is a laboratory of human relations. It is an assemblage of imperfect people, who grow up in contact with the other, different.

If I am ready to try the experience of meeting the other, of discovering him, then my brother, my sister, will help me to grow. Before being someone who must be like me, he is first of all the one who allows me, in a common environment, to move from theory to practice. It allows me to practice the practice of forgiveness, listening, and compassion.

To consider the other as a brother is to give myself an opportunity to grow, while giving the opportunity to the other to grow.

Pascal Portoukalian

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