, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

June 9, 2014

Family infighting is no way to live these days

Blame game has been around since beginning

Highly rated television shows dealing with family conflict are not hard to find.

Dramatic series, situation comedies, and reality shows ranging from “19 Kids and Counting,” “Duck Dynasty,” and “Dance Moms,” to some of the classics you may remember such as “Dallas,” “Mama’s Family,” “The Cosby Show,” and “I Love Lucy.”

They’re popular because people can relate in one way or another.  

The blame game has been around since the beginning. Adam tried to blame God for his disobedience in the Garden of Eden

“The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it (Genesis 3:12).”   

Next was Cain, who killed his brother, Abel, basically out of jealous anger that arose when God accepted Abel’s animal sacrifice but not Cain’s sacrifice of vegetation or “fruits of the soil.”

Genesis 37:2-8 gives the scenario of how Joseph’s brothers became angry and hated him. As the story goes, Joseph checked on his brothers who were tending the flocks, and then gave “a bad report about them” to their father, Jacob. Their feelings about Joseph worsened after Jacob presented the favorite son with an “ornate” robe. Then, as if tensions weren’t high enough, Joseph told his brothers about his dreams, foretelling that they would someday bow down to him. They were so angry they attempted to murder him, but then decided to just sell him into slavery. But Joseph eventually managed to become the governor of Egypt who would save much of the known world from starvation, including his brothers. And yes, they bowed to him.

In Joseph’s family conflict, as in most, problems arose because of three things:  

1) Their values were different. Evidently, Joseph’s idea of satisfactory work was not the same as his brothers. On a practical aside, this is exactly why Christians are to be of one heart and mind like Paul urged of the early church (Acts 4:32).

This could actually be achieved in God’s family today if all Christians allowed God’s word to speak for itself. Like values are the basis for any good relationship as Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 6:14 when he urged the Corinthian Christians to not be yoked together with unbelievers. It is necessary for our closest allies to be on the same page spiritually in order to help each other in our Christian journeys.

2) Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph added fuel to the fire of conflict. The same happens today when parents express more love for one child than another. It is only natural to like the behavior of a sweet child more than the behavior of the child who is disrespectful. But it is important for parents to show love for our children equally even though we don’t always like their attitudes equally. Your consistency in Christian parenting will pay off with a child who honors God.

3) Inflated egos are never a good thing in keeping family peace. Even though Joseph’s brothers may have been loafing on the job, and even though Jacob let it be known that he loved one son more than the others, Joseph did not have to flaunt his favored status. There was no reason for him to tell his brothers about his dream in which their sheaves of grain bowed down to his. Things are sometimes better left unsaid for the sake of peace unless your silence puts a family member in danger spiritually or physically.

Have a blessed week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or barrett@

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