Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry.  I know a thing or two about it.  I have brothers – one a twin.  I have 5 kids.  I’ve seen my share.  There are days when my kids are so sweet to each other.  And then there are days like we’ve had lately.  I had to take a kid to the eye doctor this week, causing her to miss her weekly trip to the treasure box at school.  So, with dilated eyes,  we went to the Dollar Tree and found our own treasure.  When picking the others up at school in the afternoon, suddenly in the midst of “how was your day?” and “hey baby girl” a storm of tears breaks out because the littlest daughter sees the guitar shaped, Dollar Tree lip gloss belonging to eye-exam girl and a meltdown begins because she doesn’t have a guitar-shaped, Dollar Tree lip gloss too. I’m in the school pick up line wondering whose children just got into my mini-van!

Later in the day my son walks into the kitchen with a piece of chocolate he saw on my husbands dresser and asks if he can have it… front of all of his sisters……and my husband says yes……in front of all of his daughters.  Granted, I’ll fight someone for chocolate, but you would not believe the scene that unfolded in our kitchen….unless you have children of your own… which case there’s no need for me to describe what Kid WW III over a piece of candy looks like.

My children are often my best teachers when it comes to seeing truth about my walk of faith.  All this got me to thinking about those of us who are Jesus followers and part of the family of God.  We are brothers and sisters.  Siblings.  There are certainly some similarities between my kids and the bigger family of God.

Like my kids, we sometimes get jealous when our brother or sister has something we don’t have.  Instead of truly being grateful for their blessing (we would never say that out loud) we wish the blessing had been given to us.  If you’re not convinced, then the next time you hear of someone having a neat thing happen like a trip to Hawaii or a new home or car, see if you hear yourself saying or thinking, “it must be nice” with a little bit of sarcasm in your voice. Ahem. Moving on.

With my kids I see jealousy and I hear questions when they don’t get the blessing they want.  Somehow they think the world should be fair and if one sibling receives a blessing then they want one too.  But fair and equal are not the same thing.  I love them equally, but I love them differently and when I choose to bless one child it doesn’t mean I love the others less.  Even in our grown up faith walks we can get confused about that sometimes.  Again, we might not say it out loud but if we believe others are receiving more blessings or answered prayers than us, we can think or tell ourselves that God loves them more.

When my children ask me “why did you give _______________ to my sister?” – sometimes my answer is simple:  Because she asked me.  If my kids ask me for something and I have the resources to provide it and it’s good for them and causes them no harm, then I’m going to give it to them.  I believe that’s how God feels about us.  If it’s for our good, and we ask, He will give it.  Maybe not as quick as we want, but He will give it if it is for our good.  One major step in receiving God’s blessing is to ask for it!  I’m limited in my resources.  I may only have 1 piece of chocolate to share among my kids, but God owns all things and has unlimited resources.  Don’t be afraid to ask for His blessing.  However……

Sometimes my kids ask for things that aren’t good for them.  And my answer is no.  No – you can’t jump out of that tree onto the trampoline.  No – we can’t go to California tonight and be back for school tomorrow.  No – we are not eating cotton candy for supper.  Sometimes they ask for things that I quickly say no to because I love them so much.  God loves us so much that sometimes He won’t give us what we ask for.  He knows the outcome.  He sees what we really need.

I remember begging God to take autism away from Cadence when she was little.  I couldn’t understand it.  It made so little sense.  I thought we were doing everything right to please Him and this was the reward?  His silence on the issue.  My baby was somehow paying a terrible price.  In hindsight I see that even though our lives are challenging, God has redeemed our struggles for our good.  And the truth is, she’s a happy girl.  She lives in the moment.  She has no inhibitions.  She knows total joy without restraint.  We should all be so blessed!  Our lives are so rich because of this journey.  Thank you God for knowing what we need when we need it and having the power to redeem anything for our good!  Sometimes the blessing is in the unanswered prayer.

When it comes to my kids asking me for things, there are times when I don’t give to my kids because of their behavior.  Seriously, if a kid pitches a fit at Walmart for a toy……a toy is the last thing they deserve.  Sometimes my kids will say something like, “can we go get some ice cream?”…..and this after they have not listened to me, disobeyed me, gotten in trouble, argued with me, fought with each other all day and my response is “you’ve got to be kidding!”  Trying to be a good parent I don’t want to reward bad behavior.  And sometimes God doesn’t give us what we ask for because we have unconfessed sin in our lives.  He won’t reward bad behavior.  If you want His blessings then ask Him to show you your sin so you can confess it.

To summarize – we all want a blessing from our Daddy.  Sometimes it seems He gives more blessings to our brothers or sisters than He gives to us.  If you want a blessing ask Daddy, because He has plenty of resources.  If He says no, it’s either because you don’t need it or you have unconfessed sin in your life.  Confess your sin.  If He still doesn’t grant you the blessing then He is doing something else good on your behalf.

Even when I make choices for the good of my kids, they don’t always like it.  And they can be upset at me at times even though I’m demonstrating great love toward them.  Sometimes God’s decisions can be challenging, but rest assured He wants to bless you and He will if it is for your good.  If you truly need it and you ask He will grant it.  I often say when it comes to prayer and God’s provision:  “If I need it, He will give it.  If he doesn’t give it, then I must not need it……or at least not yet.”

Matthew 7:11 – “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.


Photo via Visual Hunt