Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships – Part 5
Welcome back to our series on Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationship Series! I hope you have been enjoying this bite size help to establishing and teaching how to work through sibling offensives.
For those that are new and haven’t got a chance read the previous articles that lead up to this one here are the links to those: Part ONE, Part TWO, Part THREE, Part FOUR
I am a mom of 5 and I think my constant question back to my kids when they come and tell on one of their siblings is, “did you talk to them first?” Not only is this a skill that must be learned so I am not minute by minute being the mediator and judge but also I (mom) will not always be with them in their comings and goings and surely not as they get older so it is imperative that they learn how to resolve conflict but going to the person who has offended them.
Go to the person who hurt you.
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won a brother over.
Matthew 18 is a great chapter to give wisdom when dealing with conflict. These steps taught young can prepare a person for how to biblically navigate offenses when they are olds. I can bet anyone reading this right now can attest that even as adults we deal with conflict and it can be tricky! Therefore, let us as parents make a change to address this issue of How To Deal With Conflict Biblically NOW and provide the needed tool to go in their tool belts.
When reading we see both cause and effect played out within this verse, we see that someone has sinned against you. (PAUSE) Did you read that correctly: sinned against you. Identifying sin and teaching our children that some things that make us sad are actually not sinful. For example, just today my 5 year old was playing with a toy, and my 4 year old wanted it, so in frustration and sadness the 4 year old marches up to me to report that his brother is NOT SHARING. After a bit of probing I discovered that my 4 year old thought his brother was not sharing because his brother did not just give him the toy when he demanded it. As you can see this is not a sin issue on the part of the 5 year old but an impatient heart from my 4 year old.
But, there are times when a sinful act is displayed and needs action. Matthew 18 encourages us that when a brother sins against us it is our responsibility to GO (that means: take action, makes steps, be present) and SHOW (explain through love and kindness) him his fault. Now the next bit of that verse is also important to teach our children: JUST BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU. It can be so hard for our human nature not to run and report the fault to someone else, it is like we are trying to form an army to back us up, we are trying to elevate ourselves to the most important and needing others to elevate us as well (sympathize, and justify our feelings) . But, in contrast actually the bible asks us to go to the person, and we see the effect of going directly to the person (without a judgment committee), it says that if the offender/brother listens THEN we will have WON a brother over. By doing this we will have preserved the relationship, strengthened it, created a trustworthiness between the two parties. This act of valuing the other person more then ourselves by putting the the conflict aside and showing concern for our brothers heart is what creates a bond like no other. We are not hanging our brother out to dry, sending him to the firing squad, or showing him that you are the most powerful, important and righteous one, YET it is the opposite it is showing sacrificial love (a Christ like Love.)
2 Timothy 2:24-26
And he Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses, and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
We are all in a battle, a battle against good and evil. When the devil strikes and tries to use a sinful act to hurt and divide we must teach our children to stand firm against division among our brothers and sisters yet out of love and concern stand for truth. Enter into the battle to win back the captives and as we see that takes instruction (teaching, showing, lovingly using logic) and it takes gentleness (remembering who the real enemy is, and using gentleness like guiding a sheep back to the flock). Is this a lot to ask our kids to be able to do all these things: YES! But, a common question I like to ask myself and my readers, “How do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time.” Do we expect our children to do all these things day one? Absolutely NOT! Yet, step by step, conflict by conflict we ask them to take one more step towards biblical resolution. Maybe day one, we ask our kids that ever famous question, “did you talk to your brother first?” Then after a few times we ask them, “did you gently show what the sin was?” Step by Step we can work together, it will not happen over night, and as us adults can attest it can be an on going lifeskill as we see the conflicts get trickier the older we get. But fear not, and do not grow weary in doing what is right for in due time you will reap a harvest! (Galatians 6:9)