The Impact of Sibling Rivalry

The Impact of Sibling Rivalry
“Anger is cruel and destroys like a flood, but no one can put up with jealousy!” – Proverbs 27:4

Competition between brothers and sisters is not a new phenomenon. Sibling rivalry has been around from the beginning. The first recorded sibling rivalry incident happened in Genesis 4:3-8 with Adam and Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel. Cain got jealous of his brother, Abel, because God rejected his gift but favored Abel’s gift. Cain got angry and killed him. This is the first known murder.

It should not be surprising that the first act of sibling rivalry happened with Adam and Eve’s sons. It happened after they sinned against God. Sibling rivalry is still happening among families. The danger is that it can cause us to feel evil in our hearts, especially for the people we love the most. Evil feelings like anger and jealousy can lead to physically or mentally hurting our siblings. When we feel that our parents are showing more love to our siblings, it bothers us because it makes us feel rejected or that we are loved less by them. Rejection does not feel good since we were created to be loved and accepted by humans.

We desire love and acceptance and when we do not feel it, the feeling of hate can overtake us and our actions. This was the case for Joseph and his brothers. Jacob, Joseph’s father, showed a great deal of favoritism toward him because Joseph was born from Jacob’s favorite wife. The favoritism showed by their father caused Joseph's brothers to become angry and jealous. This created tension between them to where they hated Joseph and plotted to kill him (Genesis 37:18). However, instead of killing him, they sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:28).

From Joseph’s life, we are taught how sibling rivalry can negatively impact a family. However, God can use any evil intention for a good purpose. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph forgave his brothers and told them,

“You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people.”

God can do the same in your family.

Prayer of the day:

Dear heavenly Father,

Sibling rivalry has been around from the beginning and can be harmful to our loved ones. Help us to show love to our loved ones who want to hurt us or if we want to hurt them. That is what You do when we are sinful. We pray that You will change the desire of our hearts to love our siblings instead. Thank you, Father. Amen!