Friday, June 24, 2016

Tattletale Siblings

Do you know the seven things God hates? They are listed in Proverbs 6:16-19. According to Proverbs 6, the things God hates are pride, lying, murder, evil thoughts, evil deeds, giving false witness, and sowing discord among brothers.

The last point, sowing discord, really surprised my kids, taking them completely off guard. Did God really detest a person who sows discord among his brothers as much as a murderer? This one hit close to home, because lately the kids have gotten into the habit of "telling" on each other, saying things like, "Look, Paul, Toria is reading your book. She will probably lose the place you marked," or, "Hanna, do you know that Mercy is touching your play-dough?"

Even in families with just two children, one child can sow discord with his sibling by tattling. In going to a parent rather than addressing his brother or sister directly, he is causing a rift in the relationship.

The motivation of the tattler is neither to help the one sibling to do the right thing, nor is it to protect the property of the other, but rather to sow discord, to see the anger flare up in the other's eye. His heart attitude is mercilessness and a desire to look good at someone else's expense.

Reading that God hates a tattler was an eye-opener to my kids. Over the next few days, it was beautiful to watch a real change come over them. Whenever they did fall back into the old habit of tattling, they would often stop themselves in order to please God.

This verse was not just a wake-up-call for my children; it also challenged me to diligently train them. As parents, we play a huge role in what kind of atmosphere pervades the home, by allowing certain behaviors in our children. I had been letting my kids get away with tattling, which created an atmosphere of animosity. Instead, I now encourage them to lovingly correct their sibling rather than tattling on them. I also ask the tattler questions such as, "Was it kind, helpful, or necessary to point this out to others?"

It makes me smile to overhear my son, Daniel, say, "David, Mama says we shouldn't eat anything so close to supper. Let's put the food away before she notices." Daniel's actions have won him a friend, rather than causing a rift in their relationship by tattling. These brothers have grown closer together. I am sure that makes God smile, too.