We already know that God asks us to honor our parents. but what about our brothers and sisters? Steph Nickel provides us with the example of Joseph and his brothers, and points out that that’s probably not the best way to honor one another!
Brothers And Sisters- Joseph
Genesis 37:3-8 says,
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, ‘Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.’ His brothers said to him, ‘Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?’ So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.”
Just for fun, I thought I’d approach today’s devotional like Stan and Jan Berenstain approached their book The Bike Lesson. In it, Father Bear seeks to teach Small Bear how to ride a bicycle, but it turns out to be a series of what not to do.
Brothers And Sisters- What You Shouldn’t Do To One Another!
So how should we not behave? What will do more harm than good to our relationships?
While yes, God did have amazing plans for Joseph’s life, bragging about it to his brothers and their parents was not the best way to handle things.
And where did their father’s favouritism and Joseph’s bragging get him? His brother’s tossed him down a well, intent on killing him. Thankfully, a caravan came along and they sold him into slavery instead. Still, not how you hope your siblings will treat you. But even in this, we see God working out His plans and purposes for Joseph and his entire family—as well as many, many other people.
Brothers And Sisters- How To Treat One Another
On a far less serious note, this reminds me of an incident that occurred when my three were quite young.
Many years ago, in order to let my daughter know how much I loved her, I told her that I’d always wanted a little girl. You would think this would be a good thing to say, but in this case, it backfired.
One day when her brothers were annoying her, for whatever reason, she said, “Mom wanted me more than you.”
Now we chuckle about it, but even our best intentions can be turned into something we never intended—and I did explain to her that before I had children, I wasn’t clever enough to realize how wonderful it is to have sons, so God gave them to me first.
Just how should we treat the members of our household? I think it would be a good idea to explore some of the one “anothers” in the Bible. After all, they serve as good guidelines for all our relationships.
Brothers And Sisters- Honor One Another!
First, let’s review three of the verses I shared a few days ago.
Mark 9:50 says we are to “be at peace with one another.”
In the same vein, Romans 12:17-18 says, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
In this passage from Romans, the onus is on us to do all we can to live at peace. And who doesn’t want peace within their home?
And what peace we would experience if we lived in obedience to Romans 12:10, which says we are to “outdo one another in showing honor.”
Brothers And Sisters- Wash One Another’s Feet
I’ve suggested it before, but I think it would be a wonderful challenge to make this a family project for a month or more. Each week we could have a vote and give a small award to the individual who outdid the others in the area of showing honour to another family member. At the end of the challenge, we could have a vote on the best example of showing honour and award a larger prize. (I would suggest you can’t vote for yourself and that parents lead by example but aren’t eligible for prizes.)
And talk about showing honour . . . Jesus instructs us in John 13:14 to follow His example and wash one another’s feet. Even today, this doesn’t sound like a very enjoyable task, but in Bible times, it was even worse. Travelers went everywhere on foot, wearing sandals. When they entered a household, their feet were very dusty and dirty. The responsibility for washing them was assigned to the lowliest household servant. And here was Jesus instructing His listeners to do this menial task.
Whether we actually wash one another’s feet—which can be a very humbling and powerful event—or we simply look for ways to serve one another, the result can be the same. We show our humility and love and the other person is blessed.
Perhaps each member of the family could pick another’s name from a hat—bowl or whatever—and offer to do the household chore that individual likes least.
If we are busy trying to express our love by outdoing one another in showing honour, things will run much more smoothly.
And even when we mess up, we can ask for forgiveness. Plus, we can trust God to work out His plans and purposes like he did for Joseph and his family.
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