I used to think this meant that we were given siblings to test us and cause us grief.
My brother and I are only a year apart, and we fought like cats and dogs as we were growing up. Not until his senior year of high school and my junior year did we start to get along. In college, we actually lived right beside each other for a year. That was pretty cool.
My two youngest are just 21 months apart. They fight like cats and dogs. Now I know how my mom felt. Sorry, Mom! I guess now that I'm a parent, I just don't get it. Why does everything have to turn into an argument? Why does even the breath the other takes drive one so insane?
A friend yesterday shared her struggles with her kids and their fighting and provided this insight: our family has already accepted us and loves us no matter what. It is the approval of everyone else outside of our family we are trying to obtain, which is why our kids can be so kind and generous toward others.
It's good that we love and accept our family, but how do we move beyond the arguing and the general disdain on a daily basis? Is it a heart issue? Are they simply exercising their selfishness and need to be right?
Due to their clouded judgment, they are unable to see the beautiful characteristics which God has put within their sibling. My son is generous to a fault. He is extremely intelligent and loves to share what he has learned. He wants a relationship with his sister. He might not admit it, but why else would her attitude toward him bother him so much. My daughter is a leader. She has strong opinions. She is a very gifted dancer. She also has a very soft spot in her heart for others, especially those who face challenges and disabilities.
Maybe if they removed the proverbial planks they'd be able to see how amazing the other is. If they laid aside their own "rights," they'd be able to appreciate the people God has placed in their lives to provide acceptance and unconditional love.
It's funny how my oldest rarely gets into a battle of wits with either of his siblings. It is really only the two younger ones. Is that because they are slightly closer in age or is it because my daughter looks up to her older brother in some way? Maybe it's because he's unwilling to give in to the arguing.
Because my brother and I turned out to be such great friends, I can only hope the same will hold true for my daughter and son. They won't believe it now. They'll think their mom is insane, if they read this. They'll wonder how it could ever be possible considering how much they dislike each other. I think it's just a facade.
A brother is born for adversity. It took some time before I ever heard somebody explain this verse found in Proverbs 17. A brother isn't born to cause us grief. A brother is born to help us through the difficult times of life. There is rarely anyone closer than a sibling. He/she is the person who knows us best and loves us anyhow.
If you have any tips on defeating sibling rivalry, please share in the comments.