Sibling rivalry…It’s been around since the beginning of time. Cain and Abel were the first example in the Bible. Cain let his jealousy of his little brother Abel consume him and set out to destroy him. Then there was Jacob and Esau. Jacob was jealous that his older brother Esau would get his father’s blessing (or inheritance due the eldest in those times) and wore a disguise to trick his dad, who was blind and on his deathbed, into thinking he was Esau, and thus stole his brother’s birthright. There was the story of Joseph and his brothers, who were envious of their father’s special love for his youngest son. They abandoned Joseph in the desert and left him for dead. And they are just a few stories from the Old Testament. In the New Testament we see Jesus’ cousins, Martha and Mary, squabble when the Lord visits them one day. Martha, working hard cooking and cleaning while Mary sits with Jesus to enjoy His company, complains that she’s doing all the work; she’s jealous that Mary is slacking off (in her opinion) while she slaves away. And we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son in which the “good” older brother gets jealous and angry at his father when he welcomes his little brother, the prodigal one who squandered his inheritance, get rewarded with a party replete with fatted calf – while he never even had a skinny goat to share with his friends.
Clearly, God is telling us sibling rivalry is a reality of life…and sometimes a painful one. But why? Why did God give us siblings and what does He want us to learn from them? All of these sibling stories in the Bible have a common thread of jealousy, comparison and competitiveness, and a belief (on one sibling’s part) that life is unfair. I believe He wants us to learn how to love despite our feelings of jealousy, anger, fear, and our thoughts that we aren’t getting our fair share…to learn to get along and perhaps be friends with our siblings and love them unconditionally even when it seems to us they don’t deserve it.
I’ve heard it said that friends are the siblings we get to choose. And while it’s good to have friends, isn’t it nice to also have siblings – someone to share family stories and memories with, someone that uniquely knows and understands where you’re coming from, someone to practice “playing in the sandbox” with, someone who will help take care of parents in their later years? If you don’t have a sibling, you do get to choose. But for the rest of us, I think we need to be grateful for God’s choice of our siblings and the life lessons they teach us, and hope that, despite our differences, we can be friends and love each other in the end.
I wrote The Jealous Son, a modern-day murder mystery based on the story of Cain and Abel, because I could identify with the gamut of feelings that comes with sibling rivalry, both as the oldest of two sisters and as the mother of three grown children and stepmom of two more. We have all had “love/hate” relationships over time – but I’m blessed to say that in the end we always choose love. My newest novel, although fiction based on a Bible story, is real and relate-able today because it delves into the relationships between siblings, their parents, and all of the family issues that most of us have to deal with in our lives – and I hope will bring readers God’s message of hope, faith and love in finding ways to cope, overcome, and grow into our best selves.
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20
I pray that we look at our siblings as blessings from God to help us learn life lessons and become our best selves.
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For more information on my latest novel, The Jealous Son, a modern murder mystery based on Cain and Abel, or to purchase the book, visit my website “Books” page: https://michelechynoweth.com/books/#the_jealous_son or: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07S7FKL8P/ref