Holding Out the IdealThere are three things in motherhood that make me weary:

  1. Bedtime
  2. Picking up after my children
  3. Managing bickering and fighting

My husband and I were leading a small group recently when the topic of sibling rivalry came up. I listened as the gentleman on the video explained how sibling rivalry and unkindness among family members would destroy our relationships. That it would cause the people I love most to look outside the family for acceptance and affirmation and that it must not be tolerated.

I have to admit that, while I agreed with him, I was skeptical that my husband and I could banish unkindness amongst our children forever.

A few days later, I came across 1 Corinthians 1:10.

I appeal to you brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Again, skepticism. Really, Paul? You want the church of fighting people in Corinth to agree, have no divisions, and be perfectly united in mind and thought?

The author of the commentaries must have read my mind because there on the side of the page I read, “Can any church be perfectly united in mind and thought?”

I read on, “Paul wanted to hold out the ideal — the loftiest goal — even if it could never be reached completely. He called on the Corinthians to halt fighting with one another.” It struck me hard. I need to “hold out the ideal — the loftiest goal — even if it can never be reached completely.

My husband and I decided that something needed to change. We began to use the word grace and model it with more intention. As a family, we set a goal to only speak words of encouragement to one another, and to verbalize our love and appreciation of each other several times a day.

We have seen a big difference. It isn’t perfect and it’s not going to be, but Paul’s words have become my new prayer for my family: that there be no divisions among us, that we may be perfectly united in mind and thought. All on the same page, understanding our family goals. Not quarreling, but loving. Asking forgiveness and extending grace. Yes, it’s a lofty goal. Yes, it’s exhausting. But it’s definitely worth my energy.

How do you encourage compassion among siblings?


Kelly Switala

Kelly Switala

Kelly has a passion for family ministry and encouraging parents to fight for the hearts of their children for Jesus Christ. She enjoys teaching tots in Sunday School, reading, and hiking waterfall trails with her family. Kelly resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York with her husband of eleven years and their two children.