I have often had to remind my children that God did not provide them with siblings as a curse, but rather as a blessing. Yet often they do not treat each other as blessings. This ever happen at your house?
One of the sweetest sounds in the world to any mother’s ears is her children enjoying each other. I love to hear mine laughing together, being silly with one another, or just having some meaningful conversation with each other apart from me.
Equally, one of my least favorite sounds is when they are not… enjoying each other. Kids will be kids, and while they may always love each other, they certainly do not always like each other.
My mother did not have any siblings. I can remember when my brother and I used to fight, she would often say, “I always wished I had a sister or a brother to love.” I knew she was trying to guilt us into appreciating each other, but we would have none of it. When she said that, I usually wanted to give her mine and show her the error in that line of thought. My brother and I fought a lot as kids. We got along sometimes, too, but lots of times we did fight. I thought he was a big bully and he thought I was a little brat. We were both probably right.
I can remember a recent time when my two youngest kids were going at it. They were supposed to be watching TV while my husband and I rested up for another night of youth camp. Somehow the kids did not require the same amount of resting up as we did. I thought all was well until they both walked into the room. Instantly, I could see there was a problem. Moms just know these things. Ah, who am I kidding? By the look on their faces I was wondering where they’d hidden the body.
I said, “Okay, what’s up?” My daughter launched into her rendition of what had taken place between she and her smaller brother. I noticed that she downplayed her involvement, and carefully enhanced the wrong doings of her brother. I knew this was the case when I saw his eyes bug out and his mouth fall open. When she finished her version of the truth, I let him have a go at it.
As he told his part of the story, I could see he was on the verge of tears. It wasn’t until he told me the last part of his version that I understood why he was so upset. Apparently there had been quite a bit of name-calling and insult slinging going on, but the part that sent him over the edge was when his sister questioned his Christianity.
That was just more than he could stand. How dare she bring into question such a thing as that? Immediately I told him to get a grip on himself. I said that it sounded like neither of them had acted very Christ-like and sometimes when we do that, people question the sincerity of our faith. It’s a fair question. The Bible teaches us that Christians are known by the way they love one another. When we act unlovely, it does tend to make someone wonder.
But what we forget when we see a self-professed Christ follower behaving like anything but that, is that our status in the kingdom is based on faith and not deeds. And how great is that? That does not excuse bad behavior for we are always to be seeking to grow into a more convincing picture of Jesus. Still, we will fail sometimes, and that’s just part of the process of sanctification.
Both kids started looking just a bit sheepish after that. My daughter realized she had hit her brother below the belt with that one, and my son realized he probably deserved the hit. After a short pause, they looked at each other and apologized. The words were quietly spoken, nothing like the insults that had be hurled at each other earlier, I am sure, but they were spoken just the same. And they were genuine.
The neat thing about that was, everything was fine again. All was forgiven on both sides. Curses returned to blessings and all was well in the world once again. The incident was put behind them never to be thought of again. I knew the peace treaty wouldn’t last forever, but it was nice to see them laughing together at the Swamp People marathon on television regardless.