Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships – Part 2

 

Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships – Part 2

This is Part Two of a series about cultivating Sibling Relationships, if you haven’t read part one I would encourage you to give it a read at some point 🙂 HERE!

Sibling relationships are so good for the heart issues we naturally face in life. Working through the difficult relationship heart offenses when we are young can help to develop healthy lifelong relationships, not just with our siblings but other relationships we will have like friendships, marriage, work and more!

In part 1 we covered teaching our children to not be in a hurry to tell on someone else. Our goal is to help our children be able to work out disagreements between each other before seeking help, and that our children can preserve relationships when they are not seeking to get the other sibling in trouble, and lastly when they seek to get our sibling in trouble they reveal their own heart issues that also will need to be addressed.

Now as we dive into part 2 of cultivating sibling relationships we will see yet again an opportunity to train the sibling offended/hurt to grow in these situations. Here is our guide verse:

Matthew 7:1-5 

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

As we will discover as we dive into this scripture, there is one glaring false assumption we must first address. Today in our culture we have taken this opening line, “Do not judge, or you will be judged,” to mean we should not have discernment or encourage righteousness in our brother/sister in Christ. This is FALSE, this is a myth of what the I believe the intention of the verse is trying to encourage us in. This verse is stating DO NOT BE A HYPOCRITE, you will be held to the standard you are holding others too. The verse is setting us up to see the humor and dire reality of the speck and log illustration a few verses below. Why is this important? This is KEY to being able to help your child learn to see their sinful hearts in order that they might see their part in the disagreement and help to resolve the conflict.

Our goal as parents is to help our child to learn to, Remove the plank from their own eye first.

It might seem humous to show your child how a plank in you eye verses a speck in their eye. Even draw a picture to show the difference between them both, and ultimately to illustrate a point that we have to check ourselves first before we are to point our our brother/sisters sin.

I have used the resource outline from Doorpost.com resources on the brother-offended checklist to help guide this conversation I have with my child. They have literally taken bible verses to help ask questions about heart issues.

The following questions can be used to help your child discover their own “plank” in the situation.

  • Are you being easily provoked? Help you child see if they can be slow to anger they we have more happiness, less arguments, and more peace. This is a great but hard lifelong skill that can be worked on at an early age.
    • Proverbs 19:11 – A man’s understanding makes him slow to anger. It is to his honor to forgive and forget a wrong done to him.
    • 1 Peter 4:8 – Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.
  • Are you thinking of yourself first? This is a great question to ask when it comes to struggling with sharing. It is a question that helps the child see if their heart position is only thinking of themselves or others.
    • Philippians 2:4-5 – Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
    • Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
    • 1 Cor. 13:5 (NLT) – Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself.
  • Are you repaying evil with evil? Evaluating is your child’s actions trying to get back at their sibling, maybe their are using their frustration to hurt someone else instead of handling it in a healthy way. For older kids this could also involve gossiping, slandering character, and speaking poorly of others in a “christainy” way, “I think we should pray for Mary she has been doing (xyz).”
    • 1 Peter 3:8-9 – Last of all, you must share the same thoughts and the same feelings. Love each other with a kind heart and with a mind that has no pride. When someone does something bad to you, do not do that same thing to him. When someone talks about you, do not talk about him …
    • Proverbs 24:29 – Do not say, “I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.”
    • Romans 12:19 – Christian brothers, never pay back someone for the bad he has done to you. Let the anger of God take care of the other person. The Holy Writings say, “I will pay back to them what they should get,” says the Lord.

Discovering and training the heart of our children is a task that is not a one and done, but a daily reminder of how we are sinful people in need of savior. We will never obtain righteous living on our own, even those people who are following Christ will still have our sinful hearts show up uninvited to the party. When that uninvited guest shows up we must show him to the door. It will be hard work, but the fruit of the spirit will be growing in our children’s hearts and they will be transformed by the Word and renewing of their mind as we point them to God’s word and God’s design for our lives.

Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships Part 1


Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships (Part 1)

One of the desires of our family is to cultivate within our family unit solid sibling relationships. Darren and I realized that these Godly, forever, sibling relationships are a key element, and in order to take it from relationship to friendship we the parent must intentionally train, teach and develop healthy relating.

I mean you hear it all the time,

“My kids fight like cats and dogs.”

“My kids would rather be with their friends then their brother or sister.”

“They are such always at each others throats.”

These sentiments and more are common and “expected” from society. But what does the Bible have for us that teaches us about relationships? And if you stop and think logically, who are the relationships that your child potentially spends the most time with that are forming the way they think of, view, and model friendships/relationships after.

I remember playing basketball and my coach would always say, “You play the game like you practice and you practice like you play.” Signifying that what happens within the home is translated to the “outside world.” We also know this is true when we look at how children behave around the dinner table can be similar to how they would behave at a restaurant. If you wanted well mannered eaters in a restaurant while there are onlookers then we must start in the home.

I am excited to return to the Bible and look at serval traits of having unity within siblings.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 NKJV

We see that it is GOOD and PLEASANT for siblings to dwell together. And all the moms say, “AMEN!” Think of all the peace that comes within the home when siblings know how to be together in unity, working out their disagreements together and self evaluating if they are being offended and how to deal with it in a healthy way.

There obviously are many steps and training opportunities that we (the parents) must take advantage of, therefore I am breaking this into multiple blog posts/lessons so we can use it like a stair stepper and do one at a time, allowing us to focus and train without being overwhelming or becoming overwhelmed.

LESSON ONE: DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO TELL ON SOMEONE ELSE. This comes from Proverbs 25:8-9 “Do not go hastily to court; for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor has put you to shame? Debate your vase with your neighbor himself, and do not disclose the secret to another.”

Also Matthew 18:15 states,  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” 

There is a huge lesson to be learned here from both of the bible verses. Firstly, we must learn to teach our kiddos the importance of working to resolve conflict first between the two offenders, before bringing in the council of a parent. And secondly, when we are in a hurry to tattle tell on the one who has offended us we also reveal our sinful desires and heart in the matter, and don’t preserve the trust.

Lets take a deeper look into the first point: conflict is difficult and it is easy for us to want to bring others in to our own defense. I bet as adults we can see how this transpires as we share a story with another friend to gain the “support” of what we thought was the right decision. Even if the decision or event we could defend our actions, in order to do that we are displaying someone else’s sin on the table to prove our point. Therefore, are we building up that friend or are we airing their dirty laundry and gossiping? (I sadly know this all too well as I have committed this sin before.) We must show our children how when we are in a hurry to tell on someone else, what we are doing is sharing their sin without them getting an opportunity to repent, AND at the same time we are not following the biblical guidelines of healthy relationships and thus showing our sinful hearts as well.

*** I must give an caveat to this and I do teach my children if someone is being unsafe please come quickly for help and support. There are times when adults must be involved.

Secondly similar to above we must teach when they are quick to tattle tell without first working to solve the problem together what is revealed is the tattle tellers sinful heart. I like to show my young kids a visual to help them see and remember this truth. I ask them to point at something, and I say picture you are telling on someone, shaking your finger at them. Then I ask them to look down at their finger, and tell me what they see. 9/10 times they will say I see the finger pointing at the offender. (a very victim, me centric, their fault, no ownership type of mentality.) I then ask them to tell me where are the rest of your fingers pointing? Excluding the thumb (which we could argue is not a finger), three fingers are pointing back at THEMSELVES. And I share with them, when we are pointing out the sin or wrong doings of someone else we have three times as many fingers pointing back at us showing our sinful intent, that we are trying to get them in trouble, that we are becoming to judge and jury.

**** Another element we should address here, justice is a big thing and it can be confusing to kids (and adults). Phrases like, “it isn’t fair,” or “they should have a consequence for their actions,” are hard to process through, but as we remind our kids that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) and deserve punishment (Rom 6:23), we are reminded about grace, forgiveness, mercy and repentance. These traits are displayed in our lives daily and give us an opportunity to recognize and be reconciled back to one another.

Being offended is hard to process, hard to deal with, and hard to learn how to handle. If I am be bold and not shameful in anyway but our world today (society at large) is not great at handling offenses. So therefore there is not a better time than now, and not a better people group than the children within our own homes that God has charged us with, to be able to mold, shape, influence, train, guide and disciple.

I hope you are encouraged and that this allows you to take one step forward to working on and training sibling relationships. Also make sure to keep watch for next week when we enter into part two.

*** I want to thank Doorpost (Doorpost.net) for the trainings I got from them in order to help train my children on these biblical truths. And if you are interested in getting resources (I am not an affiliate just LOVE there products) make sure you head over there, they have a great poster which is quick to refer to.)