The Answer to Sibling Squabbles (and all Relational Conflict)

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my post this morning about my kids’ pre-church fight. If not, I am here to tell you that just because we are a pastor’s family doesn’t mean this doesn’t happen! Believe me, we are sinners in need of grace, just like everyone else.
To fill you in so you can see just how normal (and needy) we are too, this is what happened…
My daughter woke up and decided to make a homemade breakfast for her brothers. Yes, this was very sweet and well-intentioned. But when Brother 1 didn’t want what she was suggesting, she was mad. When Brother 2 came down and asked for Cheerios instead of the hot-off-the-griddle pumpkin pancakes waiting for him, she lashed out.
She felt like they were ungrateful (which they were) and making it wasn’t worth her time. So she began treating Brother 2 accordingly, demanding he respond the way she had hoped.
The ironic thing is I acted in this same way toward her on Friday when I came home from the store where I work and surprised her with a new top.  I didn’t get the response I had hoped for this nice unexpected gesture…and she called me on it when I tried to manipulate to get it. I had to repent.
This morning I used that situation to show her how she was now doing that same thing. But it gets all meddled because Brother 2 was sinning in his response to her.
Both sinning, but blaming the other for their behavior. Neither was seeing the “bad fruit” was not their sibling’s fault, but because of the sin in their own hearts. And both hearts were hardened to hearing the truth at that moment so they retreated to their rooms to get dressed for church.
When we arrived at church, they were still mad at each other. And though our daughter and Brother 2 typically walk home together from where we worship, she got out of the car and said she was not walking home with him today!
By the time church was over they announced they were walking home and left together. What exactly was said between them I don’t know. But, I do know on that walk home they both confessed their earlier sin against the other and asked each other for forgiveness.
Did this happen because they are “good” PK kids?
This happened by the grace of God alone. By the hearing of the preached Word coming to bear on their selfish, sinful hearts. This happened when they saw they could not love one another without God’s help. That they are weak, but He is strong. That they need a Savior.
We are all broken and needy, but too often our pride deceives us in to believing that our words and actions are justified because of someone else’s sin against us. In the case of my kids this morning their eyes were opened (at least for the moment) to see that: Yes they were sinned against, but their response in being sinned against was also sinful.
Isn’t this true of all of us?
So stop acting like it’s not. See that when we cry out to God acknowledging that we need help, He enters in. He loves to give grace. And His grace never ends.
If this happens again next Sunday, or even tomorrow, Praise Be To God that His response in our sin and need is always and forever: Grace!

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