sibling rivalry: a destructive force within the christian home

Sibling rivalry is a destructive force within the Christian home and should not be allowed to permeate throughout your household. Here you will find ways to control and eventually eliminate it altogether.

Perhaps you have grown up in a household, (or know of others who have) where this is portrayed continually throughout the home; where brothers and sisters constantly fuss and fight about anything and/or everything. Maybe it occurs only from time to time; or it happens almost daily in some families. 

I personally experienced this within my own family as well. Even though we (there were five of us) were raised in a God-fearing home; my dad being a preacher, and we as preacher's kids; we still were infected with this sinister practice of bickering, fussing, and/or fighting with each other on many occasions (usually about stupid and no-nonsense issues). Many times our parents were beside themselves in learning or knowing what to do, and how to stop us from practically "killing" each other with our mean words and actions towards one another.

sibling rivalry gets you nowhere

Eventually as we get older, we may realize the folly of it all; that all those years of distention, arguments, harsh discussions, back-biting, bickering, and mean behaviors and actions towards our own blood-our brothers and sisters, were all for naught!

We can waste so much precious time-so many years of trying to get our own way, putting our points across, and/or forcing our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and intentions upon our family members that it becomes hard then to find forgiveness, compassion, understanding, and love for them because we are too busy arguing, complaining, and fussing with them.

You and your siblings may feel that you are going around in circles; not getting through to each other; and harboring feelings of hate, jealousy, resentment, and pain. Then you end up in a family that have no more communication with each other. This should not be--not in Christian families. 

There is no moving forward within the family unit when there are hurt feelings and old (or new) grudges held for each other. You may then experience further stress in your lives, among other difficult home issues to deal with. So, nothing positive, good, or constructive comes out of sibling rivalry. It becomes like dead weight and brings about heavy hearts for every family member affected by it.

society can perpetuate sibling rivalry

Look at how our young people today are affected and infected by the signs and sins of the media, and of various media outlets. There is sex, violence, social unrest, and the total breakdown of our society in various forms. Put that together with having digital devices in our hands, cars, homes, work, school, and at play, or wherever we are, and it becomes a recipe for disasters of all kinds. So, how is this all played out within our society? Here are a few reasons I have found that put much of the blame on our society, along with Bible verses that refute them:

  • Society encourages our children to not listen to authority figures, such as teachers, preachers, police officers, government authorities, parents, employers, etc. Therefore, it breeds distention in the home, which also applies here to sibling rivalry. Here's what the Bible says about this issue:

Ephesians 6:1-4 says, "Children, obey your parents in the LORD: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment of promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Lastly, there is:

Romans 13:1-5, which states, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resiteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist receive unto themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."

  • Society breeds selfishness in the form of envy, greed, jealousy, hatred, idolatry, and covetousness among our peers, parents, co-workers, and friends; inducing sibling rivalry also. Let's look at what God's Word says on this subject:

James 3:16 tells us, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."

Luke 12:15, Jesus said, "Then He said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."

Philippians 2:3 reminds us, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves."

James 4:2-3 says, "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." Finally in,

Ephesians 5:5, it states, "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."

  • Society encourages individualism among our children, whom may say, behave, or be however they want, without regards to how it may affect or hurt someone else.  Although there are laws in place to discourage various criminal behaviors, our children and teens are influenced everyday in some form or fashion, how to live rebelliously and recklessly. Sibling rivalry is perpetuated as a good and accepted thing, which brews competition and selfish ambition within the family unit today. God's Word says differently:

John 13:34 says, "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

Leviticus 19:18 warns, "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord."

Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, 'Thou fool', shall be in danger of hell fire." Lastly,

1 Corinthians 1:10 says, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement."

Sibling rivalry is created and manifested throughout all these scenarios and will continue to perpetuate itself if allowed to do so within the home, or anywhere else for that matter.

how to control or stamp out sibling rivalry altogether

Now that we know it exists, and is seen and experienced in many families, including many Christian homes, what is the solution to it? How do we control or stamp out this destructive force within our homes and families?

Here are a few suggestions I have found to be helpful and useful in doing so:

  • Communicate with each other. Get your family together; ask and discuss pertinent and delicate issues/concerns that each family member has, including the siblings, of course. Air out the dirty laundry if need be. The longer you keep it inside yourself, the worse it festers and stinks.
  • Gather your family together for prayer and Bible study often; daily if possible. This practice alone will keep the family fires under control and will uplift each family member spiritually. Bible verse memorization sure helps when faced with a tough issue, or with any temptation to sin which may crop up at any time in one's life.
  • Be sympathetic and empathetic towards each other and with each member of your family. This cuts down on the rebellious and selfish behaviors. Many times sibling rivalry has to do with power, competition, emotions and feelings of being wronged or slighted in some way, along with envy and jealousy as well. Give out lots of hugs, listen and pay attention to your children (teach your children to do the same with their siblings), spend time with each other as a family unit, participate in exciting and fun activities together, go to their sports events (bailet events, church events, etc.), be present in their lives.
  • Parents: do not provoke, insult, show partiality, or any kind of favoritism among your children. All of these will breed the dreaded sibling rivalry among your children. Even if you do have a favorite child, never let it be known or show any hints of it whatsoever. Furthermore, provoking or insulting your children often will bring about envy, hatred, jealousy, malice and rebellious behaviors with family members. I have seen and experienced this in my own family and of other families and know it to be true. If these behaviors are allowed to continue in your home, you will see trouble coming in to stay. It will bring such chaos to your household!
  • Parents: do not allow arguments, yelling, fighting, or malicious speech and/or rebellious behaviors to get out of hand within your home (or out of the home) Nip it in the bud (stop it) immediately!. Sibling rivalry is exacerbated and intensified by allowing it or even encouraging it to continue in your home. Even in something called "play fighting", there begins trouble. Certainly, I realize that there are psychologists and other medical/mental professionals out there who suggest that parents say nothing; do nothing; or put any attention to sibling rivalry; to just let siblings air things out (or fight it out) themselves with no other intervention or interaction. They tell you to distract them somehow, to move their attention away from the problem. At times this does help a bit, but then it comes up again; then what do you do? Some of them suggest you just watch your children, make sure they don't hurt each other, or ignore them while they fuss, fight, and insult each other. In my opinion, that just puts an invisible "Band-Aid" on the situation and really doesn't help much at all. Let me tell you, that is against what the Bible teaches here and, in my opinion, should not be adhered to, especially for Christian families who listen to and practice what the Bible teaches parents with regards to raising godly children. Sibling rivalry must not be repressed, but shown into the light, and dealt with in a godly manner. I remember as a young kid, my mother was very adamant about us siblings not fussing, arguing, fighting, or insulting each other. If she ever caught us doing those things, she would stop it right away, not allowing it to continue. However, if we did continue, she would assume we had way too much time on our hands, and would quickly put us all to work doing hard chores. We had to learn to work together and to love each other. Also, if things got worse in our sibling rivalry, our mom would not hesitate to get our dad's belt out and use it on us in disciplining us. After that, she and our dad had us to get down on our knees in prayer before God, asking Him to forgive us and to help us forgive each other. We didn't always like their methods, naturally, but alas, it worked! We learned then to respect, help, and love each other and still do to this day, as each of us are tightly bonded to one another now. Rarely do we ever experience any sibling rivalry in our adult years. We give credit to our parents and thank the Lord for them, who made us do right, and who raised us to become good parents ourselves. We surrendered our hearts and lives to God through the godly teaching and discipline of our parents. Lastly,
  • Be forgiving, and forgive each other. This is not only just a good thing to practice, but is also a commandment from God as well. He even says in His Word, in Matthew 6:14-15, where it states, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." When there is true forgiveness, there is the melting and humility of hearts.

In conclusion, family conflict, chaos, and distentions on the home front can be eradicated or at least tamed down a bit if you eliminate all forms of sibling rivalry; not allowing it to penetrate itself whatsoever into your home.

I would encourage you to continually seek God's will in the raising up of godly children and loving them unconditionally, even if "tough" love is applied from time to time as well. My dear old dad used to always say to us, "Let sisterly/brotherly love continue" as a reminder to me and my siblings to hold our tongues and keep the peace between us.

Sibling rivalry is negative, destructive, and entirely no fun! Sibling peace and harmony, however, is where it's at, and should always be. Treasure a happy home life with the love and peace that can reside there, when you follow God's Word and His leading in creating Christian fellowship and harmony within your household and family. God bless.

Disclaimer: The materials contained on this website are provided for general information and educational purposes only, and do not constitute medical/mental, or other professional advice on any subject matter. This website is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or mental condition. For medical/mental advice, diagnosis, and/or treatment, please seek out a certified medical/mental practitioner. I do not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Thank you. 

Related Articles:

Abiding In The Love Of Christ

Arguing Never Works!

Barriers In Christian Living

Chaos Within The Home And Family Unit

Charity Equals God's Love And Divine Nature

Childhood And Adolescence: Times Of Learning And Growing

Children: God's Greatest Gift To Your Family

Difficult Home Issues

Family Parenting: Instilling Principles And Values In Your Children For Life

Values In Christian Living

Home Page

Top Of Page