“And he said to him, ‘Son you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.” Luke 15:32
Help for the Hero
Are you familiar with the term ‘sibling rivalry’? If you are a mom to more than one child, or a mom with a single child and a close-in-age cousin or friend, you are either grinning or rolling your eyes at me right now, depending on the moment. Of course you know this term, and have probably lived through it yourself. If you are like me, you are in the process of helping your own children through the all-too familiar terrain!
Thankfully, God addresses the concept of jealousy and sibling rivalry in His Word. In this week’s verse, we focus on the story of the Prodigal Son. The father in the story, who is likened to God, is telling one child to be thankful and grateful to see his wayward sibling come back home. The child he is speaking to complains, envious of all of the lavish attention his undeserving sibling is getting. His father patiently explains that he loves both brothers, and that celebrating repentance never gets old!
How can we help our children to see this important point, that we will always love them and their siblings infinitely? We can use great shows, stories, and Biblical analogies to illustrate our points, but the bottom line is, if they don’t see us modeling uninhibited love to both them and their siblings, it will likely have very little meaning for them. If and when sibling rivalry occurs in our homes, we must follow our Lord’s example in being sure to love both children through the ordeal. We may prevent extreme forms of sibling rivalry also, by celebrating each child’s victories, giftings, joys, and Christian discipleship well, so they are less likely to be prone to jealousy when their sibling succeeds or returns to good behavior.
For an older child, it can be helpful to tell them that the more people in this world who are on God’s team, the happier the entire world will be, including them. These savvy children will understand the concept that everyone benefits from their sibling or peer’s successes in some small way.
Likewise, when our children walk away from us or from God for a season, we must stand our ground with what is right, but keep watching and praying for their return. We must not be too hard on ourselves when this happens, either. God, who is perfect, has had His children walk away countless times, and He remains ready to love us when we return. Join me in spending time with each of your children this week, helping them to bond with their siblings and friends, and growing their desire for good, by filling them up with plenty of love, encouragement and motherly affection, also!
Kids Can Too!!
Are any of your children approaching the developmental and spiritual milestone of making the decision for Christ? I have heard of some Christians being ready to come to the Lord as early as age three, while others take much longer. Don’t rush your child. Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to help you know when the timing is right, and talk to your child about making a decision to invite Christ into his or her life for eternity in the Lord’s timing. Spend time talking with his or her sibling(s) also, to help them to feel the joy for their brother or sister also. Most likely, they will come alongside of you as you rejoice, and even feel like part of the planning committee.
How good are you at rejoicing with your husband when something special occurs in his life? Many spouses, myself included, get so wrapped up in their own life and homeschooling roles, that we forget to be cheering on our hubbies in their accomplishments, or even forget to encourage them to keep striving for their goals. If you husband has goals of any kind this week, spend time talking about them with him and make sure to spend time encouraging him. If it’s something special, make him a cake, buy him a card, and give him a special gift that signifies you love celebrating him. Remember, we benefit when others do well in the Lord, so you get cake also! If you have envy over the way he gets to spend time outside of the home more than you, bring this to your Father, who knows how best to fill you and love you. Moreover, spend time planning out a few of your own goals. Homeschooling, we forget sometimes, is only a season, and many goals that cannot be easily accomplished during these years, may be planned for and prayed over in the meantime.
Thank You for the wonderful gift of family. Nothing means more to me than my child(rens) salvation, and I pray each of my children would be fully Yours. I pray today that You would help my children to love one another, and help me to know when I can be of Your assistance in this sticky process. Help me to love everyone in my family, and not to play favorites. Please help me to feel loved by others too, and especially You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.