Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dealing With Sibling Rivalry

1 Peter 1:22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each deeply with all your heart. (NLT)

Yesterdays Proverbs 31 devotion and my blog post was about disciplining our children - something we do not enjoy doing, but that is necessary to raise healthy, loving children. But what about when everyone in the household seems to be at odds with each other! It not only takes a toll on our hearts and emotions, but eventually it leads us to tire of the situation, and tire of trying to make things right, possibly even making things seem hopelessly out of our control.

Sibling rivalry tends to take a toll on my disposition more than anything else. I always find myself saying "Why cant we just all get along!" But I suppose since God made us all different, with unique personalities, and then sin made us self centered creatures, conflict is destined to happen!

Let me give you a brief run-down about something that happened in our house once:

6:15am: I was abruptly awoken by the phone ringing-school was cancelled due to weather. I could sleep in and the children and I could enjoy a peaceful day at home, sipping hot chocolate and snuggling by the war fireplace.

8:15am: Children come downstairs and crawl in bed with me. 8:20am: Children begin struggling over who gets to hug me the most. For fear of injury, ended that quarrel and leaped out of bed to make breakfast. As my daughter pulls the griddle from the cabinet, the coffee pot tumbles out, shattering into a hundred pieces. 8:30am Shattered glass cleaned up.

8:35am Asked my son to get eggs out of refrigerator. As he rushes to retrieve them, the lid falls open, a dozen eggs crack all over the floor.

8:45: Finish mopping the floor after cleaning up the eggs. Hear spoons going wild-argument occurring over who gets to stir the pancake mix.

9:00am: Grumpy due to no morning coffee. Seriously contemplating renting a bulldozer to scrape ice off the roads so school could reopen. I found myself asking, what happened to the peaceful day I had envisioned?

On this frustrating morning, I had to desperately pray for patience! I would rather clean up ten milk spills (or broken eggs and coffee pots) than hear my children quarrelling. So what is a mom to do?!

I yearn for my household to be filled with peace and happiness, not quarrels and punishments. I yearn for my children to understand the importance of loving each other and treating others with kindness, consideration and love. Most importantly, I desire for them to understand that being a faithful servant of Christ does not end when you accept Christ into your heart. True devotion to Christ is showing our ability to put aside our own desires and frustrations, and respond to others in a loving way – including brothers and sisters.

We sat down for a family discussion. I explained that by loving each other, they are also showing love to God; and when they are mean to each other, that God feels that as well. The bible tells us that whatever we do to the least of these, we are also doing unto Him.

As they learn to treat their brothers and sisters with love and respect, they will be equipping themselves to better love and respect all of their Christian brothers and sisters - not only those in our biological family, but those in our spiritual family as well. Lastly, I mentioned that when they treat each other lovingly they are treating Christ lovingly through their actions. Their faces beamed when they heard that they could make Jesus smile, just by being kind to one another.

Even if I have to give them this speech daily for the truths to sink into their hearts, it will be well worth the time and effort. We still have a long way to go in achieving perfect household harmony, but with God, I know that all things are possible.

Dealing With Sibling RivalrySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

1 comment:

Joyful said...

My goodness, Tracie, you had quite the morning...or should I say, quite the hour! Trust the remainder of your day was easier.

My son is an only child, so we don't deal with sibling rivalry, and I think because of that, my son does argue with us at times. Not having a brother or sister, I see this as part of the learning/growing process and although we don't let him get away with it or excuse it, I do understand it. It's all part of teaching him about loving and forgiving one another.

Thanks for this great lesson again today,