The end of a matter is better than its beginning.
A couple of decades ago, twelve-year-old Jeff and his ten-year-old brother, Scott, argued daily. Shouts of “Give it back! It’s my turn!” frequently filled the house. Their mother and father, when he was home, intervened often and did their best to maintain peace between their young warriors. Though it often felt like a losing battle, they generally kept a positive attitude about their roles as mediators. This faithful mom and dad understood that the Scripture “Blessed are they who maintain justice” (Psalm 106:3) certainly included parents. God’s Word helped them keep the worst of the child-rearing wars in perspective.
Sibling rivalry has been known to drive even the most patient and reasonable of parents crazy. It was responsible for the first murder on record, when Cain killed his brother Abel. Though a degree of antagonism between your children may be inevitable, you can minimize these conflicts by avoiding comparisons between your kids, by establishing and enforcing clear boundaries between them, and especially by instilling an equitable system of justice at home. Someone has said, “Strong families make good neighbors.” It is true. Solomon told us why: “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous” (Proverbs 21:15). While you can’t eliminate sibling rivalry altogether, you can insist on civility at home. Over time, that can lead to lasting friendships.
Before you say good night…
- Is sibling rivalry a problem in your home? What do you think is its cause?
- Do you “maintain justice” as taught in Scripture?
Heavenly Father, it can be so painful to watch our children fight. We ask for Your guidance for our response to these moments. Help us to be fair at all times, and give us wisdom to maintain justice in our family. Amen.
This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.