I’m speaking tonight (on a whim) at the closing of our church’s youth camp. It has been a series of evening activities, culminating in this night. Tacky Night. Topic of the person that I’m stepping in for: ‘Touching the lives of your Family’, with the tag line – Christians are hard on their families.
There was also some discussion on focusing it on how teens can bless their families, particularly their siblings, by not being selfish, but be generous.
So I look to the biblical texts to find some great examples of sibling generosity.
Practically a null set. From Cain and Abel to John and James (the sons of Thunder) there is a dearth of sibling kindness to each other. Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son is the hallmark of selfish behavior, with both the wayward and the homebody brother being entirely selfish. So what can I point to to show a clear instruction, where is the point where I can hammer home the point of sibling good will?
I think I’ll turn to the fourth commandment. Indeed the one that Paul says comes with a blessing.
“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the Land the Lord is giving you” (Ex 20:12)
The longest relationship we’ll have while living might be with our siblings. Some of the memories I have of family reunions are of siblings getting together to honor their parents. Then after the parents are gone, some siblings continue the tradition, in honor of their parents.
It is odd that a similar command to love ones children isn’t on the big ten list of commandments. Perhaps because that is part of us, to love our children. Each individually, as a singular expression of ourselves. And corporately as part of the larger organism we call family. Many of my audience tonight will be youth, those preparing to make the leap into adulthood, leaving the nest. With that time in life comes a natural friction, a yearning to leave our parents, and strike out on our own. How can they possibly do that, and still honor their parents? For kids and teens still in the home. You know the sullen and bershon teens that are slowly withdrawing, wanting to be grown up, but to young to be able to. How can they honor their parents?
Love the ones the parents love. Serve the ones the parents serve. Love your brother/sister as you would love yourself. I think that act of unselfishness, putting our siblings before ourselves, is the strongest act of love we can show our parents.Â One that at age 39 and a half, I know I need to improve.