Sibling Rivalry

Genesis 30:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

 Rachel named him Naphtali,[a] for she said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I’m winning!”

Since the first rivalry between Cain & Abel, there has been a constant struggle between siblings to “win.” Why? I suppose it comes from that place deep down inside us that believes we are God’s favorite, and therefore we think we should hold the same standing with our earthly father & mother. And so….we strive to maintain that position.

Every child that is born into a family with other children must learn how to deal with conflict. I’m convinced, that God, in His infinite wisdom gives us this safe training ground in order that we may work out our selfishness & judgments against others so that we may run the race that He has set for us. Therefore, we have 2 options; fight like heck to “win” or train to run our own race, while simultaneously cheering our siblings on in theirs.

Rachel chose to become jealous & manipulate God in order to win the baby making race with her sister. From the beginning of her & Leah’s marriage to Jacob, the fight was ON! (sister wives is never a good option, right?!). But, I’m certain that their rivalry began much earlier, when they were just little girls watching their father’s sheep. How sad that they spent so much energy competing with one another & forcing others to choose sides (their maids, who were made to enter the baby making race as well).

I grew up with only 1 sister, who was (& still is!) almost 6 years older. Honestly, I hated her guts until she got married and moved to Germany. Even though our mother did everything humanly possible to keep things “fair” between us (seriously-same # of gifts and dollar amount for Christmas & birthday gifts….we had to be the same exact age to wear make-up, get our ears pierced, date, etc….) it still didn’t remove my desire to want to win and point out all the unfairness that I had to endure as the younger sibling (she got to choose her dress for prom- I had to wear her hand-me-downs, she got to finish high school in CA, I had to move to NC, she got to choose the car she wanted when she was 16, I had to get her old one…..blah, blah, blah…). Thankfully, as I matured (eh-hem…) I was able to see that my mother was just trying to make us both feel equally loved & my sister couldn’t help that she was born first! (btw: I appreciate all the hand-me-downs I can get, now!)

Just as God knew us before He created us in our mothers womb, He chose our parents (biological & adopted) & our siblings to mold and shape us into who we were destined to be. Our relationships with our siblings can either become a competition full of judgment & bitterness, or they can be a marvelous example of the body of Christ; people with different gifts & talents that are running to win the race- together!

Statistically, the relationship with our siblings is the longest ones we’ll have in this life. Life is too short and the race too tiring to waste all our energy competing with our siblings. In order to break free from the bondage of rivalry & run in the lane designed for us we must know the plans God has for us and we must choose to forgive our siblings for however they’ve offended us. We must also release them from the judgments we’ve made about them….because, when we do, we will have a long time runner beside us cheering us on…and that, sometimes, can make all the difference in how we finish.

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