Then What Happened ?

Have you experienced, or witnessed sibling rivalry ?

It is a common, but unfortunate part of human experience.

The Bible contains examples of sibling rivals. Some animosity is obvious, (Cain and Abel), while other differences are more subtle.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15:11-32), Jesus describes how a son spent his share of his inheritance in wild living, and then returned, broke and starving, hoping to work as a slave for his dad.

However, we know how joyfully his father welcomed him back into full family fellowship, gave him a robe, and a ring, and a party !

His older brother, however, was not glad to see him, and refused to join in the festivities.

As a parent, I can imagine him saying to his father : ‘It’s not fair! , which is a common complaint when siblings disagree.

Of course, we are told not to add anything to scripture, but still I wonder, what happened to the brothers’ relationship afterwards ? Did they ever reconcile ?

I often ask myself, when reading scripture: Then what happened ?

The estate now belonged to the older brother, and after their father’s death, would he ask his younger brother to leave ?

We have a guarantee that God always grants forgiveness to anyone who repents and turns away from sin.

And yet, although we are forgiven, the consequences of sin remain. Often sin can result in a lifetime of regrets over bad decisions, or, sinful behaviour can can result in damaged relationships.

Let us pray that God, in his mercy, would keep us free from sin.

Let us also ask for guidance and wisdom in parenting, and grandparenting, so that we encourage our children to form loving, rather than overly competitive relationships with each other.

Pixabay photo

22 thoughts on “Then What Happened ?

  1. I’m finding out that my kids have a lot of sibling rivalry at ages 25 and 28. My daughter is going through lots of therapy and she keeps bringing up stories from her point of view (not mine) where I love my son more than her. My son is also jealous of his little sister. I like your Biblical point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi ! It is such a common thing that most of us parents experience. It is good, though, when we can have communication with our grown children and listen objectively to what they are feeling, without feeling defensive.
      Our relationships are constantly evolving, and growing closer, although we may not always sense this. πŸŒΌπŸŒ·πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember the days of sibling rivalry, my big sister detested me as the younger child, but as adults we became good friends just before she went to glory. In my view sibling rivalry is one of Satan’s main weapons in Christian families. Thank you for this post and reflection Sally, may our Father God bless you and yours today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your perspective on where sibling rivalry originates from. I agree with you.
      So glad that you were able to reconcile with your sister.
      Blessings and peace to you as well, Alan. πŸ€—πŸŒ·πŸŒΌ


  3. I never had any siblings and never married, so never had children. But I am aware that this does happen in families. I have a friend who hasn’t spoken to her siblings for a few years and even when she was speaking to them, it was not usually a good thing. And she is 73 years old. I talked to her pretty straight a couple of weeks ago after she told me she could never forgive them. Then a couple of days later she called to tell me she had forgiven her great-niece, then the next week that she had forgiven her one brother. She is still not speaking to them, but I’m not sure that at this point separation may be the best thing. We do have to remove ourselves from people who abuse us. But I’m hoping this will go even further where she will forgive her sister and other brother and other family members.

    I read the story of the prodigal son just this past week, and I wondered what the outcome might have been. Did the older brother relent after talking to his father? I hope so. But it could have gone the other way just as easily. You have brought out some good points in your post, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Diane, for your comment.
      So glad that your friend has been able to forgive some of her family members.
      The Lord asks us to forgive, as we have been forgiven, but, as we know, some things are so difficult to forgive, unless the Lord helps us.
      I hope that she, in time, will forgive her other family members.

      ‘…and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…’

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Both our adult children would tell you they have at times been jealous of each other. We work at being fair with them both. There was a time our son needed to reap what he sowed. He lived with us after he left his wife and two children. So when it came time to have his kids I told him I would not baby sit for him if he wanted to run around. I would not wash his clothes since he had time to do it himself if he did not run around as much. we charged him rent, and he split the utilities. There were many times he did not have the money to pay us rent so we kept a tab of what he owed us. He had money to drink on, go to concerts, etc. Every year he got a bonus from his job and those few years he lived with us he usually owed us most of it. He finally got his heart right with God and afterward remarried his wife and they had another child. We believe in practicing, “tough love” and praying. I think our heart would have been more heart broken if we had not practiced tough love. We have a great relationship with our daughter and son and they have a relationship together.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Betty , so glad to hear that you have a great relationship with your children, and that they get along well with each other. This is the ideal for every family.

      I do agree with you that ‘tough love’ is needed in certain circumstances, and as you say, parents who pray for their children are giving them a great gift.πŸ€—

      How great that your son re-united with his family.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Sally,
    Thank you for another thought-provoking post. I think I can answer your question about what happened after the prodigal returned home. Of course, this is just a parable, so in one sense nothing happened to them, because they weren’t literal people. On the other hand, looking at what the parable means and understanding who the characters represent, we can ask what happened to those who were represented in the parable.

    In the context, this is the 3rd of three parables which were Jesus’ response to the scribes and the Pharisees’ criticism of him. Here is the preamble:
    Luk 15:1Β  Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.Β 
    Luk 15:2Β  And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, β€œThis man receives sinners and eats with them.” 
    Luk 15:3Β  So he told them this parable:

    Considering the context, the interpretation of the parable is straight-forward – the father represents God the Father (and Jesus who was sent by the Father); the younger brother represents the Jewish tax collectors and sinners who had been outwardly unreligious but who were repenting and coming to Christ; the older brother represents the Jewish Pharisees and the scribes who were strictly religious but who rejected Christ and resented his reception of the tax collectors and sinners.

    There are two main points, I believe:
    (1) God receives with joy anyone who repents and comes to him through faith in Christ alone (not trusting in their own works of righteousness as the Pharisees did), and makes them His child, no matter what they’ve done. Note that the younger son came empty-handed, seeking mercy, with nothing to offer but the stink of his unwashed body and the filthy rags he wore, and was received and cleansed and restored, all by grace;

    (2) The Pharisees were wrong to resent the sinners and tax collectors who were received by Christ. Outwardly they served God, but did so grudgingly, thinking it should earn them special status, and they considered themselves so holy that they needed to avoid the tax collectors and sinners. Note that the older son cited his own works to the Father as having secured him favor that the Father had refused to acknowledge. Their hearts were far from God, and they, too, needed to recognize their own sin and abject moral poverty, repent, and receive the Messiah.

    Understanding who is represented, we can answer the question of what happened to the Pharisees and Scribes, who were represented by the older brother.

    Some, like Nicodemus, sooner or later recognized Jesus as their Messiah and turned to him in faith, joining with the believing tax collectors and sinners to form the early church. Their lives were likely hard, but full of joy, and by grace they were eventually received into glory.

    Others, probably like some of those who tried Jesus and turned him over to the Romans for crucifixion, rejected Jesus, never repented, and clung desperately to the forms of the old covenant. These died in their sins and await final judgment and, if they lived long enough, saw the Romans come in 70 A.D. and destroy their beloved temple, their nation, and their way of life as a judgment from God for rejecting His Messiah.

    So, there you have it – my take on what happened to the older brother in the parable. An anti-climactic “it depends.”

    I hope you enjoyed the excursion that your post prompted.
    God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Craig !
      Thanks so much for providing the context in which Jesus presented the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

      You’ve reminded us of the richness of the scriptures, and how God speaks to us, through them, on many levels.

      I suppose too that we can sometimes witness the attitude of the ‘older brother’ in the attitudes of church members who have never strayed, towards ‘prodigals’ like me, who wandered away from God, and then repented and returned.

      Thanks so much for sharing this with us.
      Let’s continue to be joyful that mercy is God’s greatest attribute.
      Blessings and peace to you and your family. πŸŒΌπŸ€—

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, That’s another place we see similar attitudes often times. I am also immeasurably thankful for God’s mercy! Blessing to you and your husband also!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. ” Then what happened ?” Yes, poor decisions have consequences, even if there is forgiveness and reconciliation. I also ask God to protect me from making poor small and large decisions that could have negative consequences further down the road. Oh, how we need His guiding and prompting. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautifully written, as per usual. Yes, sibling rivalry is very common. I have witnessed it and experienced it. I am number seven in a family of nine children so there were lots of times when rivalry reared its ugly head. We lived and learned through it all. Today I am so grateful for my siblings who are always there for support and friendship through the hard times and to cheer me on through life’s challenges. Our families are our first communities. It’s where we learn the lessons of forgiveness and how to negotiate the trials and differences that are part of life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Carol. I like when you said : ‘Our families are our first communities’.
      You are blessed to have siblings who encourage and support you. πŸ€—πŸŒΌ

      Liked by 2 people

  8. oh wow!! sibling rivalry is real. I once fought with my sister, I regretted days after but now i realize it was good that it happened because from that point i intentionally learnt to control my emotions in the middle of an argument.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is a powerful lesson to learn at a young age…learning to control our emotions in the midst of an argument.
      Self-control is perhaps the most important fruit of the Holy Spirit. Thanks, Cynthia πŸ€—

      Liked by 2 people

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