The Pain and the Great One Go to Church

My children are four years apart.

One day, sitting around our kitchen table working on lessons, something we were studying sparked my daughter to ask me to explain where babies come from. My son, probably ten or eleven at the time, looked at me with eyes narrowed and asked, “Are you actually going to tell her the real facts about this?”

Smiling I nodded yes.

He threw down his pencil and pushed his chair away from the table. “OK, well, I’m out.”

He walked from the room shaking his head but paused beside his sister’s chair long enough to remark, “You are about to hear the most disgusting thing you’ve ever heard in your whole life!”

Oh yeah, that’s a perfect set up for sharing the facts of life with your daughter. That took some talking to undo.

Older siblings can be a mixed blessing. It’s great when they take an interest in a younger brother or sister and teach them things, watch out for them or model excellence. Not so great when they get it in their mind to torment them, torture them or twist what they know before they share it.

That happens in the church.

When we join God’s family, we inherit brothers and sisters with all the joy and craziness that comes along with that. To all the other “older” brothers and sisters out there, may I just say this: let’s be careful out there!

One of my favorite children’s books is titled “The Pain and the Great One”. It’s a book that can be read one way (The Pain) and it tells one family’s story from the perspective of the older sister. Flip the book over and the second story “The Great One” is told from the perspective of the younger brother. It’s so true; it makes me laugh every time I see it.

Older siblings – try to remember you’re not so great. It’s only by God’s grace that you found Him earlier than your younger siblings and there is still much you have to learn. Be sure you’ve got your story straight before you share it with those younger ears. Don’t torment, torture or twist.

Younger siblings – don’t be such a pain. We all have things to learn and those who’ve gone before us can come in handy.

The writer Maya Angelou is quoted as saying: “I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.” That’s something with which God apparently agrees.

There are over fifty “one another” passages in the Bible. These are verses that describe how we should treat one another. Here is a sampling:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

“Keep on loving each other as brothers.” Hebrews 13:1

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

How about it? Are you the pain or the great one?

This week, my goal is to try to be the humble, loving one.  Won’t make a great book title but I’m going to give it a try anyway.

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    The Conversation

  1. Thanks for the laugh, Lori! Great story! Great post!

  2. Cheri says:

    Having four kids who were all at times the pain and at other times the great one, this post just made me smile! And the application to brothers and sisters in Christ… priceless!


  3. I’ve been both, too, Cheri!

  4. Cheri says:

    Oh, me too, Lori! Didn’t mean to imply any differently! *wink*


  5. Anonymous says:

    wonderful post…thank you so much for sharing this lovely story~

  6. You didn’t, Cheri!

    You’re welcome, Anonymous.