This morning’s parable
With five children with the most varied abilities and emotional needs imaginable, the sibling rivalry displayed in our home knows no bounds.
Especially on a Monday morning.
Imagine our joy when our nine year old son who developed a fear of ghosts at Christmas and has not slept alone since, slept through the night alone last night in his own bed.
Imagine how proud he was to announce to the family that Mum and Dad had had their first night together in their own bed in four months.
Imagine his excitement when the incentive of buying a new puffle (think Club Penguin) finally became a reality
And then imagine the rage of his younger sister –
“It’s not fair. I sleep in my own bed every night and you never buy me a puffle. I go to bed nicely. I let you shut the door. I even sometimes let you turn the light off. You never give me anything for all that. Why should he get a puffle and not me? It’s so not fair.”
She’s spoiling the moment. She’s ruining the celebration. I start to get angry.
And then I remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Her reaction is just like the older brother –
“It’s not fair. I do everything you ask of me and you never throw a party like this for me. I work hard. I behave appropriately. I don’t waste your money. You never give me anything at all. Why should he get a party and not me? It’s so not fair.”
So I try the loving parent line –
“ Come here to me. You know that I love you. You know how much I appreciate you going to bed nicely. This is something that your brother finds really hard and today, we are celebrating his achievement with him. There are other things that you find really hard and when you achieve them, I will celebrate with you too. So today, be happy for him if you can.”
And actually, I’m not just saying the right words. I really, really mean it. I do love her and look forward to celebrating with her too. And that’s how God is with us. When I’m jealous of the person giving the talk at the front of church or wish it was me who had been healed by God, I need to remember this story too.
And when the two older ones get in from secondary school later, this parable will be replayed. I received a postcard from the school this morning praising my daughter for her outstanding work in PE recently which is great as she struggles to apply herself to her work in any subject. But when I celebrate this achievement with her, I know that my son will go mad –
“What are you praising her for? I work hard in every lesson. I get good results all the time. And what do you give me?”
The Bible brought to life by me and my dysfunctional family.
I love it.