TODAY'S WORD FOR Friday, May 25, 2018:
Seeking to achieve the same object or goal as a brother or sister; trying to equal or outdo a brother or a sister.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness and walks around in darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
I John 2:10.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
Sibling rivalry is very common and often results in bitter disputes even in the most loving of families. Having raised six children we are well aware of this concern. We were very fortunate because sibling rivalry, even though it existed often, never became a serious issue.
We believe that early training helped derail situations that could have been very disrupting to our family. From an early age we taught all of our children to love God first, then their parents and then their siblings. When any of these areas broke down we faced it and discussed it. We also encouraged our children to support each other in all of their activities including school, church and sports.
Each of our children had five cheer leaders all the time and they were taught to complement one another. The older siblings even helped as coaches or assistant coaches on sports teams that the younger ones played on. No matter what the age, everyone needs the encouraging support of family members.
Sibling rivalry is not new. It began in the family of Adam and Eve with the rivalry of their two sons, Cain and Abel. Another sibling rivalry was between Esau and Jacob, the two sons of Isaac. And of course we all know about the sibling rivalry between Joseph and his ten older brothers.
Parents must use Godly wisdom in dealing with sibling rivalry because leaving it alone to fester and grow can cause major issues. It is often the case that parents are the cause. In the family of Jacob and Esau, for example, the parents played a vital role. Isaac favored Esau and Rebecca not only favored Jacob but she “aided and abetted” Jacob so he could get what he wanted.
A second illustration from the scripture is the role Joseph’s father Jacob played concerning the rivalry between Joseph and his brothers. Jacob continually showed favoritism to Joseph.
When sibling rivalry is not dealt with in the right way it leads to jealousy and anger which will lead to hate. Jealousy has a disastrous effect on the family. In Isaac’s family when Esau discovered his brother Jacob cheated him out of his birthright and the blessing of his father, Esau hated Jacob and planned to kill him. Jacob’s parents had to send Jacob away to spare his life.
In Joseph’s family, Joseph was the favored son of Jacob and the ten older brothers saw Joseph as a rival for their father’s love and esteem. The older brothers became jealous and the rivalry turned to hate and they decided to kill their brother.
John tells us in I John 2 that anyone who hates his brother is walking around in darkness and does not know where he is going. Hate is in itself a sin because it always leads to greater sin. Hate blinds us and keeps us from the light that is in Christ Jesus. Without the light of Jesus to guide us we will follow the wrong path.
Parents must be very careful not to show favoritism and to set righteous examples for their children. Children must be taught to care about their siblings and be sensitive to their feelings. It is hard to mistreat someone you love and care for. When family members get along with other members of their family they will know how to get along with others. How we treat others is a reflection of our love for the Lord. In I John 4:20-21 John says, “If anyone says ‘I Love God’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he had seen, cannot love God.” And He has given us this command: “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” It is easy to say we love God, but the proof of our love is how we treat those we live with -- our family.
Our memory verse for this week is found in Colossians 1:10.
That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Help me to be aware of my children’s feelings and may I assure each one that they are loved and valued for who they are. Help me to teach them to love each other and to work out their differences as they happen.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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