Lately, I’ve been thinking about how my children respond to sinning siblings and friends.
When we sat at lunch last week, I spent some time talking about the responsibility a mom and a dad have to teach and discipline their children. (I’m really interested in their responsibility, but talking about something they need to know indirectly seems to result in children a little more verbally interactive and less defensive.)
I asked if they could think of a verse where God gives parents the authority and responsibility to discipline their children. They correctly identified Ephesians 6:1 as a good example (it specifically demonstrates to children that they must submit to the authority of their parents, but it works). I gave them a couple more.
Then I asked if God gave siblings the authority and responsibility to discipline and teach their brothers and sisters. They giggled a bit, and we all agreed that God didn’t command brothers and sisters to obey each other.
Or did He?
I asked them what Cain meant when he said “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We talked about how, although brothers and sisters don’t have the same authority and responsibility to each other than parents and children have, they still have a responsibility to each other.
Then I told them that Jesus talked about our relationship with brothers and sisters, too. (I didn’t go into the distinction between spiritual siblings and biological ones.) We looked at Matthew 7.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
We discussed what Jesus was talking about. Then I asked them what the problem was when one sibling called out to mom “David’s not cleaning his room” while at the same time having a messy room.
I asked them how they could love their sibling, and whether it was right to leave one’s messy room and start cleaning brother’s room. I referenced “Love does not look on her own interests.” That passage really addresses the motives for “helping.” We decided that it was probably loving to clean up one’s room first, and then go help brother clean his room. Or encourage him. Or pray for him. Lots of responses. (sometimes it is appropriate to tell mom. We didn’t talk about that response this time, but we have in the past, and we will in the future!)
Several times since this discussion, I’ve referred back to these passages. I’m interested in how often a discussion like this one sometimes lasts for days and weeks. Now, I see the connection between how my children deal with problems, and passages in Scripture that directly address motives and actions. Cool.