I’ve been working hard recently to try and improve my parenting as our son has a tendency to do big tantrums and get very upset, and I don’t always handle it as well as I could. In the process I have noticed that if I make a special effort to talk to him whilst I am with his sister it really helps, and small things make a difference, like not checking my mobile all the time whilst I am with them!
I am pretty sure there is alot of sibling rivalry between me and my brother and sister, but nowadays it’s not an every day thing. Sometimes I experience it more with friends or colleagues who I compare myself to, in an unhealthy way, or I notice myself having a whinge with my mum, when I’ve had a good day really!
I had a look at Genesis this week where the classic sibling rivalry takes place, Cain and Able. Basically Cain murders his younger brother, because Able was out-shining him, and he was jealous. Being the first-born of the family Cain was used to alot of attention, in this case he is supposedly the first born son of Adam and Eve! Not sure what Richard Dawkins woudl have to say on that one!
I love the verse when God asks Cain what he has done, and Cain says “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?” In other words, why are you asking me? Cain forgets he is talking to God.
God doesn’t keep count of our failings, but he also doesn’t want us to keep count of our colleagues/rivals, boss’s failings either, and he certainly doesn’t want us to resent people who have done really well, or committed their lives to God in a way we might find over the top! He is much less tolerant of committed christians doing other christians down than someone who is living a life of sin, but doesn’t know a way out of it. His punishment of Cain wouldn’t go down well in modern parenting guides, but speaks to an age old problem that us humans have of hurt and resentment creating divisions and problems in our families.
Genesis 4: v1-12
Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. ”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know, ” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. ”