Do you have a lot of siblings or are you (like me) an only child? How does that compare to your family history? Did your parents have siblings? Your grandparents?
My Mom is one of five children. Her Dad was the 8th of 11 children. Her Mom had a brother. My Dad was an only child, as was his mother. His Dad had a brother.
If you have brothers and sisters, what is your relationship like? I know some siblings that are inseparable while others are extremely estranged. If you’re an only child–do you feel like you missed out by not having siblings or where you content, in and of yourself?
I don’t ever recall wishing I had brothers or sisters or being glad I didn’t. It was just me, and that’s how it was. “Life is hard, get used to it,” I can hear my Dad saying.
Scripture is full of stories about families and the relationship between siblings. Early on in Genesis, we learn about Cain and Abel, the sons of Noah–Shem, Ham, and Japheth. We also discover the timeless stories of Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, and of course, Joseph and his brothers. Exodus presents us with Moses and his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam. In Numbers, we learn about the sons of Korah and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. We know from Scripture that David had many older brothers. In the New Testament, we learn about Simon Peter and Andrew, the sons of Thunder (James and John), and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. The Bible teaches us that even Jesus, himself, had brothers (Mark 3:31).
The Bible depiction of family runs the gamut of relationship dynamics. There is certainly ample dysfunctionality present in many of the family relationships. There are difficult relationships amidst stories of brokenness. There is restoration and reconciliation too, like with Joseph and his brothers. Jacob and Esau seem to make peace, as does James with his brother, Jesus. James, historians tell us, comes to believe his brother is indeed the Son of God and grows to become one of the leaders of the early church in Jerusalem.
The Bible is a book filled with stories about broken people just like you and me. We can learn a lot about family, healing and restoration through the study of Scripture.
How are things with your family? Do you want them to be better?
Someone must take the first step.
Will it be you?