When Our Kids Can’t Get Along
Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way.” Genesis 45:24
Most of us, as parents, don’t like it when our kids quarrel. Because we love our children, and we desire to live in harmony with them, we also want them to love and live in harmony with each other. When they’re hateful to each other, their lack of love wounds us. When they live in conflict with each other, we live in conflict as well. It’s our nature as parents to desire love and harmony within our family.
This was Joseph’s sentiment as he sent his brothers home from Egypt to bring back Jacob, their father. He’d just revealed himself to them and he’d forgiven them for once selling him into slavery. The brothers were indebted to him, but Joseph pardoned that debt and instead of taking revenge, he blessed them. As he sent them off, he asked them not to quarrel with each other. Why? Joseph knew that as soon as they left, they’d be tempted to turn on each other. I told you we shouldn’t have sold him into slavery. Joseph knew that they’d be under terrible stress as they’d soon have to confess to their father what they’d once done to Joseph. This was your idea. You have to tell dad.
Joseph had lived in separation from his family for years. Now that he’d been reunited with his brothers and was about to be reunited with his father, he simply longed for a loving relationship with them. Before they even had a chance to apologize, Joseph had forgiven his brothers and so, he wanted them to forgive each other. As I have loved and forgiven you, you must love and forgive each other.
Jesus wants the same for us – By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35). As our heavenly father loves us and has forgiven us, so too must we love and forgive each other. We may feel that we’ve been wronged by those closest to us and we may feel we have some right to hang on to the debt owed us. As God has forgiven us though, we must forgive others, whether they grovel before us or not. God loves us and desires that we live in harmony with one another. So, for our part, we must daily do what it takes to be kind and loving to those closest to us – even if they’re not kind and loving to us. Boundaries may be appropriate, but because God has loved and forgiven us, hatred and resentment should have no place in our lives.