Week 2, Day 3

Childhood Conflict

We’ve all experienced relationship conflicts at some point in our lives. Many times, that conflict comes from within our family. In our childhood, conflict presents itself in various forms - with our parents, siblings, or other relatives. In Genesis 37, Joseph experiences conflicts with his brothers. Because their father seemingly loved Joseph more than his brothers, they hated him [37:3-4]. Scripture says they hated him, but I feel they also resented him. They believed Joseph had something that they wanted; and in order for them to get it, they had to get rid of him.

When children experience hardships, it shapes and molds them into who they will ultimately become. However, every conflict doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We find in Romans that all things work together for good for those who love God [8:28]. So, we know that portion of scripture includes both the good and the bad. When we overcome obstacles, even in childhood, God knits them together for good - the kind of good that results in His glory. A strained relationship between parent and child could eventually lead to the best relationship - one they never thought they could have. Siblings who are envious of one another should instead learn to appreciate the uniqueness each of them possesses.

Growing from childhood into adulthood, we process experiences differently. We use the lessons we learn and the conflicts we go through to emerge better. Siblings can grow up in the same household with the same values and teachings and still turn out to be totally opposite individuals. Ecclesiastes states that “the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned” [9:11]. This tells me that we don’t have to have all the answers because God does. We can endure conflict and still come out on the other side. And we can make all the right choices and still suffer difficulties. We just have to trust God to work it out for our good and His glory.

Reflection Questions

• Think of a time when you experienced conflict in your childhood. Looking back, how has God used that conflict for your good and His glory?

• What can we learn from the way Joseph’s brothers treated him?
Josephine “Josie” has served on the Church Online team for three years. She was previously a part of the Care Team, and also volunteers at One Night for Women and Night to Shine. She loves her Heritage Church family.
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