Sibling Jealousy

By D.S., Age 15 and Staff Writer

Question

What can help me deal with feeling jealous of a sibling?

Answer

I can speak from experience. Though my younger brother and I have a really good relationship with each other, there have been times I feel like I just want to get rid of him. Everyone loves him and thinks he is so cute and adorable, so he gets whatever he wants.

There are many stories in the Bible that offer healing thoughts, such as Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son, or show what happens when people are jealous, such as the events that occur between Isaac's twin sons, Jacob and Esau. But the story that has really helped me is the one about Joseph and his Coat of many Colors.

Joseph's brothers are very jealous of him because they feel their father loves Joseph more than he loves them, which is true. When Joseph receives a coat of many colors directly from his father as a gift of his love for him, this puts his brothers' jealousy over the top. When they go out to herd the sheep, his brothers throw Joseph in a pit, sell him into slavery, and fake his death so that his father will think he's died.

In captivity in Egypt, Joseph has ups and downs. He is well respected by his master, Potiphar, until Potiphar's wife accuses him of sleeping with her (which he hadn't). Thrown in jail, Joseph interprets dreams. The Pharaoh finds out about this, and Joseph becomes the second most powerful man in all of Egypt and is put in charge of harvesting and giving out grain during the good years and then during a famine. When his brothers come from their home to get grain in Egypt, they do not recognize Joseph.

But Joseph recognizes them. Instead of feeling hatred for all the pain and suffering they had caused him, he helps them. He tests them first to make sure they're truly sorry for what they did. But he takes them in with open arms, gives them all the food they need, has his entire family move to Egypt, gives them prime land, and loves them more than ever.

People could argue that Joseph was crazy to take in his brothers after they had almost killed him and sold him into slavery. But I believe Joseph was able to love his brothers because he knew that they had made a mistake: they had been overcome by jealousy, which kept them from listening to God. He knew they had become sorry for doing what they had done. He was able to forgive them for their wrongdoings. He didn't hold their jealous actions against them. Rather, he loved his brothers and reunited them as a loving family.

Though I sometimes feel jealous of my brother because of the attention he gets, I know that jealousy doesn't do any good – for me or for him. I've learned that no matter how much we upset each other sometimes, love can overcome whatever issue we're discussing.

It really doesn't matter whether you get the most attention or the least. It just matters that you always love each other and that you're understanding of the other. It also helps to know that there's more than enough love to go around in a family since that love comes from God, who is infinite Love.