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The Rivalry Between Siblings

A rivalry is defined as a “competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.” Sibling rivalry is real, and the Bible speaks of many siblings who harbored resentment, hostility, and jealousy against each other. A little friendly competition is OK amongst siblings. But it can turn ugly when it becomes a battle between siblings to win the love, acceptance, and approval of their parents.

Siblings are a gift (Ps. 139:13-14): The family into which you were born was not just happenstance. It is a gift from God. Children are a gift from God. Therefore, siblings are a gift from God. There’s a warning for parents, though: Don’t play favorites. One of the Bible’s most dysfunctional families was dysfunctional because of favoritism. Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob (Gen. 25:28). Love your children equally. Pour your life into them equally. Children need words of affirmation. They need our unconditional love. Don’t be an Isaac or a Rebekah.

Siblings are different from each other (Gen. 4:2): Wouldn’t the home be a boring place if Mom, Dad, and all the kids were exactly the same? Children have different gifts and abilities. They have different likes and dislikes. But sometimes these God-given differences can be the very cause of sibling rivalries. So parents, know your children (Prov. 22:6). There’s nothing wrong with your children having completely different interests and talents. Sometimes, though, we can try to mold and shape our children to be like us. We want them to be in the image of us, but remember — they’re made in the image of God.

Siblings learn to relate to God together (Deut. 6:6-9, 20): Children are teachable. They’re like sponges. They’re always asking questions. They’re always watching. They’re always listening. Children want to learn what the kingdom of God is all about. Keep in mind: God holds each one of us accountable. It’s not who your parents are, or who your siblings are. What counts is if you have a relationship with God. So parents, is there harmony and unity in the home, so that your children can develop their own relationship with God? Our families need God to build our homes (Ps. 127:1), husbands who will lead, wives who will support, and children who will honor and obey their parents.

Steven Matthews


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