Not every child has a sibling, but the Bible shows us that believers are invited into relationships that are akin to brother or sisterhood.
Where we do see sibling relationships in Scripture, they were often strained. With Cain and Abel, Joseph and his eleven brothers, and Esau and Jacob, we see family dysfunction abounds. Family rivalry is not God's plan; instead, we are called to be peacemakers and live in unity, as we are called to do with our spiritual brothers and sisters.
In addition to learning to live in unity, healthy sibling relationships are meaningful because the family we grow up in is the basis for future family relationships. What children learn about living with family as a child manifests in the family relationships they form through marriage and building families of their own.
To support the relationship between brothers and sisters, avoid favoritism. God does not show partiality; He loves everyone with equal measure. Each child is different and possesses individual strengths and weaknesses, and some children are easier to parent than others, but by doting on one child over another, resentment and distrust is bred. Consider how Joseph's brothers responded to favoritism, “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 37:4).
Instead, parents should foster in sibling relationships kindness, patience, and forgiveness, which binds families together. One of the enemy's primary tactics is dividing families, but as Christ-followers, we are called to live in unity, peace, and acceptance.“Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19). By promoting strong, loving sibling relationships, we teach our children to be peacemakers, not rivals.
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