Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” – Genesis 4:8-9 (NRSV)
Sibling rivalry is one of the oldest plots in the story of man. Cain and Abel, Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers and the list goes on. Very often it hinges on one being favored over the other in some way. Whether the favor comes from an earthly father or heavenly Father doesn’t seem to matter, jealousy rears its prideful head and problems ensue. The real tragedy is that the jealous son rarely gets the message in these relationships: “If I would keep my concerns on honoring God, maybe I wouldn’t be worried about my brother being better than me.”
Fortunately, we can redeem this kind of situation by orienting everyone in the situation to the same thing – the example of Christ. There is nothing quite as humiliating as being told, “Why can’t you be more like (insert sibling’s name here)?” It devalues our individuality and demeans the unique, creative power of God at work in our lives. Instead of comparing siblings to one another or favoring one that may be more like you than the other, we can point them to Christ.
If our eyes are on Christ, then they aren’t on each other, at least not in a critical way. When we see ourselves in light of who He is, what He did and how He did it, we can see the way forward. If we say or do things that have our children looking at each other as competition or obstacles to our affection, they will never move forward because the forbidden fruit of supremacy will always distract them. If Cain had kept his eyes on his heavenly Father instead of his brother, things might have gone differently.
Let’s pray today that we can be peacemakers in our families. Lord, grant us the wisdom and words to point our children to Christ, who can set them free from the enmity and jealousy the world can bring. May we raise our children to love and respect one another for your glory and honor. Amen.