Pruning • Tough to Love When You Favor
Ryan Story | Student Pastor
I recently made one of the hugest mistakes of my parenting career. It was one of those days at my house. My oldest son, who was almost 2, was destroying my house. He was legitimately destroying everything. Broly was taking his play hammer and pounding the walls, he took the toy hockey stick and hit several things off the wall, and somehow managed to hit his little brother Zeke. I picked up Zeke and got him to stop crying. Then I said something that I soon quickly regretted, I looked at Zeke and said, “This is why you are my favorite.” Now I did not mean that wholeheartedly, but at the moment frustration got the best of me. What makes it worse was my wife heard me and came out from the kitchen and informed me why this statement was not correct to say.
Family dysfunction starts with the parents. Parents are not perfect, and kids can be hard to love, but as parents, we must stay the course and show them the example of Christ in our lives. I grew up in a family where it seemed as if it was always aunt against aunt, uncle against uncle, and cousin against cousin. It never seemed abnormal to me to be pitted against my siblings. It was never off to see my parents pitted against my aunts and uncles. Looking back on it, that kind of dysfunction can break people. Sadly, all of the drama between Jacob and Esau started with Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 25:28 says, “Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”
It is really easy to see how Jacob and Esau’s conflict grew to split the family. It is easy to find fault in the scheming Jacob and the foolish Esau. But getting to the root of the issue shows Isaac and Rebekah’s favoritism. I look at both my boys and I see the crazy, fearless Broly and I see the sweet, smiley, chunky Zeke. I love them both in different ways, but putting favor on one over the other is wrong. If we are honest, sometimes that can happen. Family life becomes difficult and tough to love when children are brought up in a world where they feel they must compete for their parent’s approval.
By no means have I arrived as a parent; I am a novice at best. But I strive not to let favoritism rule in my family. We all know there are things that you like and do not like about people. Romans 2:11 says, “For God shows no partiality.” God loves everyone equally; you cannot earn more or less with God. God loves you for you, not your deeds, good or bad. I took a moment where I looked at the negative actions of my son and deemed him less, and that is wrong. Isaac deemed Esau greater because he was older and a hunter. Let us let love guide our relationships with our kids, not our preference.