Sibling Rivalry

sibling rivalry

Yes, this was staged by my grandsons. They are actually perfect little angels, of course.

Every evening after supper, my dad would lead us in family devotions. After reading a portion of Scripture, each person, starting with the youngest, was expected to say a prayer. Too young, perhaps, to come up with my own, Dad would prompt me: “Help me not to fight with Grace Anne and Paul!” Thankfully, any sibling conflicts we had as children have long been resolved and forgotten, and we three sibs feel only love and adoration for each other today. But not every family is so fortunate.

The famous David and Goliath story (I Samuel 17:29) begins with David’s dad Jesse sending him to the Philistine battleground with food and supplies for his older brothers. David arrives at the site, sees Goliath, and starts asking questions. Eliab, David’s oldest brother, gets angry and attacks him verbally, sarcastically. And David responds with, “What have I done now? Was it not a harmless question?”

You wonder how long this sibling conflict has been going on. We can only imagine, but I suspect that Eliab is sore that David got anointed king instead of him, the firstborn. There’s hurt, pride, and jealousy.

And David? It’s not his fault that he’s been chosen by God. It’s inevitable, it seems, that others will criticize, put down, and try to discourage God’s anointed one. But David did not take pride in his own strength; instead he gave the credit to God: The LORD delivered me from the bear and the lion . . . and He will deliver me from this Philistine.

The Result:  God replaced the curses of his big brother with the blessings of a new and better brother:  Jonathan.

It’s interesting to note that after David flees from King Saul, his family (including his brothers), hear of it and come to him. I wonder what Eliab thinks of him now? And how will he feel when David becomes his ruler?

Do you have a sibling (or a sibling in the Lord) who has shunned you, picked on you, or criticized you?  Or maybe you’re jealous that your sister or brother got all the attention, good looks, and talents. How do you respond?

2 thoughts on “Sibling Rivalry

  1. I have no siblings, so I just admit to the feelings that would have been there if I had, had them. Jealousy can happen to an only child as much as one who is not. It is assumed by others that you are “spoiled” because you don’t have to “share” bedrooms, toys, attention, etc…but they don’t realize the blessing they have that I did not. I was a loner and pretty much learned to entertain myself, and was sort of an old soul because all whom I was around were adults. I never knew that I was deprived, it was a fact of life and thusly one goes on living as if everything was normal; at least it was my normal.

    It was what it was, and I adjusted to it as best I knew how. Maybe that’s why I love people so much because I didn’t have that many to interact with growing up. This was God’s plan for me and I really can be content alone and then “elect” to be with others when I desire the company. Thankfully, I have many to choose from whenever I feel the need to do something fun. Lots of time on my hands which means there is no excuse for a messy house. Ha!


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