The sibling struggle is real, y’all. I offer photographic proof from my own home.
But then there are moments like this (when they don’t know you’re looking):
A few thoughts before we get to the scriptures…
Siblings are one of the greatest blessings—and challenges—of childhood. They reveal kids’ character as no other relationships do. Siblings force each other to learn how to be selfless, flexible, forgiving, resilient, patient, self-controlled, and a thousand other things. With God’s help and parents’ guidance, sibling relationships can develop into a lifelong source of joy and friendship. I believe this is possible because I saw what my parents, by God’s grace, built in my family growing up (four kids who still really like and enjoy each other, even as adults—talk about a modern-day miracle!). We didn’t just have “good chemistry”; our closeness was no accident. Over the years, many tears were shed; countless apologies were made. Watching the work my parents put into our family, I learned a valuable lesson that I cling to now that I’m building my own family of four crazy kids: Close, caring sibling relationships don’t “just happen.” And it’s not just the “lucky families” who get to enjoy them. Any family can build close sibling relationships—any family! yours too!—if they are willing to put the work in, and do it God’s way.
Cultivating sweet sibling friendships takes intense, daily effort from every member of the family—first the parents, then the kids. Kids don’t just outgrow their mean, petty, selfish behaviors—they have to be taught and disciplined and reminded until they learn to act otherwise. If we the parents allow cruel words, insults, sarcasm, shouting, and even hitting and violence between our children, then those behaviors will continue. When we allow these behaviors to go undealt with for a long time, we are setting our kids up for increasing resentment and antagonism that will only build, year by year. That’s the bad news. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Kevin and I are working so hard (SO! HARD!) to encourage close relationships among our four kids—and some days it’s just an exhausting grind. Sometimes I wonder if we’re getting through, if they’ll ever be as close as we dream they will be. But then we see sparks of hope, signs of progress—our miserly son sharing gum with his sisters, unprompted; the six-year-old, caring more for the two-year-old’s fair ride experience than for her own; the nine-year-old not losing her temper when a sibling leaves the cap off her favorite markers for the zillionth time. I see these seeds of hope and affection sprouting, and pray that as we continue to nurture them, they will grow into wondrous friendships that give us ALL joy our whole lives long. Kevin and I are determined. With the help of God and scriptures like the ones listed here, we will not give up.
We will not let this go.
Our kids will get along, and they will like it!
As my mother always says, “We’re going to love each other in this family, even if it kills us!”
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Here are 13 scriptures to help siblings get along:
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21
“Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.’ ” Proverbs 24:29
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2: 3–4
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:14–15
“ ‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:3–4
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers…. Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:16,18
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