Family Matters: Surviving with Siblings

Before you proceed with this post, do yourself and favor and check out the YouTube video called "Hot Kool Aid" from Julian Smith (here's the link).

Ahh, yes...brotherly love!

Maybe you've been there.

Having a brother or sister can be hard for both of you: you think they're annoying or whatever, but they think you're annoying too! It goes both ways.

One of the Bible's most famous stories is about a sibling rivalry. It's the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4).

We have two brothers in the story. The older brother is named Cain. The younger brother is named Abel. Cain became a farmer. Abel became a shepherd.

Even though you have the same parents, you and your siblings will likely enjoy doing different things. That's okay. Don't call your sister names if she won't play basketball with you. And girls, don't huff and puff about why your brother didn't even pay attention when you asked him if your outfit looked good. It's probably not his thing. The two of you are different.

Beyond just being interested in different things, you and your sibling(s) have different personalities too. You might say something as a joke, but they take it to heart and it hurts their feelings. It will help your family situation if you try to see things occasionally from your sibling's point of view.

Back to the story.
Cain brings an offering of crops as a gift offering to God.
Abel brings an offering of meat as a gift offering to God.

The story doesn't make a big deal about what each of them brought.
The big deal is that - for some reason - God accepted Abel's offering and rejected Cain's offering (vv. 4b-5a).

This, of course, made Cain very angry.

Imagine you're in English class and the teacher assigns you to write a poem. It's due in one week. Your brother's English teacher also gives the same assignment. So both of you turn in a poem at the end of the week.

The next Friday night you decide to share your poem with the family. You read it, and your mom asks to see the paper. You give it to her. Your brother is inspired, so he gets his poem out and reads it too. Your mom asks to see that paper also. He gives it to her.

Then your mom gets up and throws your poem in the trash, and she puts your brother's poem on the refrigerator! That would make you pretty mad, right? Of course it would!

Maybe that's how Cain felt: God accepted his brother's offering, but not his.

He's angry, and God says, "You will be accepted if you do what is right."

Oh, so maybe there's more to the story.
Maybe he hasn't been accepted because he hasn't done what's right.

Maybe the reason your mom didn't accept the poem was because you had just Googled "poems by 8th grade students" and copied it onto a sheet of paper. It's your writing, but it's not your words. And your mom knew it. If you actually write a poem from the heart, then she'll hang it on the refrigerator too!

You can fool your teacher, but it's harder to fool your mom.
And you might be able to fool your mom, but you can't fool God.

Perhaps Abel's offering was a gift from the heart, while Cain's offering was just a show.

God said, "You will be accepted if you do what's right." And now God continues, "But if you don't do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you" (v. 7b).

You can react the right way. Or you can react the wrong way.
The choice is yours.

What does Cain do?
Genesis 4:8 says, "One day Cain suggested to his brother, 'Let's go out into the fields.' And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him."

First of all, let me say clearly that this is not an example to be followed.
I also want you to see that Cain is actually taking his anger out on the wrong person!
He was mad at God (or maybe himself), but he takes his anger out on his brother.

Might it be that some of the arguments, fights, and problems that happen in your house - between you and your parents or between you and your siblings - happen because you are not where you need to be in your relationship with God?

That's likely the case because the quality of our relationship with God ALWAYS affects the quality of our relationships with others.

You will have arguments and fights with your siblings. It's been that way since the beginning of families. No family is perfect, but we have to try to make it work together. You can love them even though they're different from you in some ways. And you can commit your way to God and allow his love and acceptance of you to spill out into your relationships with your brothers and sisters.


Related Posts:
Family Matters: The Advice You Don't Want to Hear
Living Loved


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