Sibling rivalry and partiality! Those of you who were the only child in your family wouldn’t have had to face this ordeal growing up. However, those of us who had siblings know the dilemma… I was the middle child of 3 in an Asian society (Tamil at that too) and the only girl. Well I did enjoy being the youngest for 7 years. However, I was asked to give in to my older brother as I needed to ‘respect’ age and it didn’t matter what I did. On the other hand, I was also expected to give in to my younger brother as I was the ‘older’ one . And of course in both situations, I was the ‘girl’ and thus being feminine and graceful meant being submissive and putting others first.
My mum invariably took sides with my brothers and after my younger brother passed away, my older brother got all the attention and favour. If I complained, then my mum would say that I’m seeing things as she just couldn’t see what she was doing – although others around us did! Whether she took sides or not, the fact remains that different children are treated differently.
More often than not, there is a valid reason for differences (which is quite different from ‘favouritism’ – although it could easily be misconstrued). A guy can have more ‘freedom’ compared to a girl. Feminists can rise up against this but the fact remains… females (whether young or old) have more things to watch out for given the rise of people increasingly giving in to their fleshly nature in the last days. Fact is we are living amidst all this and need to take precaution to protect ourselves from harm. Differences may need to be shown not only on the basis of gender but on one’s physical strength, intellectual capacity, maturity level, strengths and weaknesses. Each person is differently equipped with different strengths and different weaknesses and different interests. Hence, a parent or guardian would have to put rules or conditions or tell them to do something uniquely according to the child. The bookworm would be encouraged to go out and play to get a bit of fresh air while the playful one would be chided to go indoors and do the homework.
Our Heavenly Father also is the same. He tells us to do something in accordance with the differences as mentioned above and thus in accordance with the specific callings for our lives to fulfill His perfect and pleasing plan. Esther and Sarah’s beauty came in handy to open doors which may have not otherwise opened and thus the plans for their lives were fulfilled with God’s Name being glorified. On the other hand, the life of Jesus was prophesied as following:
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows,and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised,and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. – Isaiah 53:2-4
God has a reason for everything… He had to make foolish the ways of man and thus orchestrates divine ways where He would be glorified. The Jews had not been expecting a Messiah to come in this form and thus the religious missed out on God’s provision of a Saviour for their lives. There was a time when Jesus openly rebuked the religious leaders of the time. However, when false accusations fell upon Him at the time leading up to the cruxification, he was ‘as quiet as a lamb’.
To some, God will tell to wait with the assurance that God will win the battle for them… and to some others or perhaps even the same people at another time, He will ask them to go forth assuring them that victory is theirs. David remained at the palace for a time despite Saul’s torture but then there was a time he ran for his life. Hannah stayed put despite her rivalry’s provoking and was blessed. Hagar despised her mistress when she (Hagar) got pregnant and in return Sarah ill treated her which lead to Hagar fleeing away. However, the angel of the Lord told her to go back and submit. It is interesting to note that Hagar wasn’t told to ask for forgiveness for despising Sarah in the first place. Finally Sarah had Hagar sent away. God told the distressed Abraham to do as Sarah wished as the chosen son was Isaac and not Ishmael.
Sometimes we need to stand up and fight,
sometimes we need to let go and let God….
God has a purpose and plan for each individual and yes, it will definitely not be the same.. So let’s think twice before we enforce legalism and twist God’s Word to rules and regulations. God’s Word is not a dead book but rather, it is ‘living and active’ (Hebrews 4:12).
Let’s humble ourselves before our God and let Him do what He wants done in each situation..and let’s obey what He tells us to do for that particular situation so that His purpose will be fulfilled for us and for the others involved 🙂