Don’t Play Favorites

Joseph was a 17 year old shepherd the 11th son of Jacob. His brothers were jealous of his relationship with their father. Because Joseph was one of the youngest sons, his father spent more time with him, and he became very special to Jacob. So Jacob had a special robe made for Joseph. It was very beautiful and had every color you could imagine in it.


His brothers begin to resent him even more. Joseph shared with them his prophetic dreams of becoming the ruler of the kingdom one day.  This was too much for them so the brothers plotted to kill him, although Reuben, the oldest, didn’t want to downright kill him.  The brothers threw him in a well and ended up selling him as a slave. They returned home and lied to their father saying that Joseph was killed. There’s more to the story which you can read in Genesis.


I was the youngest sibling in my family AND I was the only girl. You want to talk about having the potential of being favored and spoiled!!!  However, I was not “one of the boys.” That was a saying in my house growing up. It’s was obviously true. I didn’t play sports like my brothers. I didn’t watch sports on TV like my brothers. I didn’t get into the whole catching frogs, looking for turtles and climbing tree adventures. No, while they were doing that, I was playing with my dolls, or jumping rope.


I was content though. Even though I was not hanging with them, I knew they loved me and I loved them. The best part is that we came from a home with lots of love from our parents. I didn’t get to do “father-son” things but I was the one that got to curl up on my dad’s lap and watch TV with him. I was the one who got to help mom bake in the kitchen and…I was the one who got dismissed from doing any outside chores.


Were they jealous of me? I don’t think so because I was summoned to cleaning the bathrooms, loading the dishwasher and scrubbing the pots and pans. The key to this family unit was that we all felt loved no matter what our birth order was or our gender was.



I have seen generations of families who down-right talk badly of their siblings and are jealous of each other. I have seen sisters talk about each other because they are jealous. I have seen mothers talk about their sons because they are frustrated with their behavior and yet, they are blessed to celebrate holidays together. This greatly disturbs me because I have never had the privilege to live near my family  and now my own children are scattered so when we get together, we don’t display jealousy nor do we talk badly about each other.


There are actually a number of bible verses on jealousy, mostly because jealousy is an emotion that can easily lead us down a negative path. Jealousy can cloud our judgment, cause us to make bad decisions, and can even make us lose friends or alienate family members that we care about. We sometimes think of jealousy as an emotion related only to relationships, but it goes further than that. Jealousy is a common emotion today, mostly because we live in a materialistic society. Yet, we always need to remember…we can’t take it with us. Here are some bible verses on jealousy that remind us that our eyes need to be on God rather than on what others have: Genesis 4:8; Proverbs 6:34; 1Corinthians 13:4-5


The story of Joseph and his brothers does have a happy ending where they were united in Egypt and had all the food that they needed. God is so good to always work things out even when the ending is not quite what we expect; His ways are much wiser than ours.

Let me ask you; do you think that the lives of Joseph and his brothers would have been differently if Jacob didn’t favor Joseph? As a parent, do you favor one child over another? If so, please seek wisdom from God; that is a very dangerous road to travel. I have raised three wonderful adult children; I have not done everything right for sure, but they all know how much I love them the same. I hunted and fished with my son and I played house and cooked with my girls.

Are you an adult who has some issues with a sibling?  Please seek  resolution and forgiveness. Life is too short to harbor such feelings.


living by grace


2 thoughts on “Don’t Play Favorites

  1. Caren Mitchell April 5, 2013 / 5:12 pm

    That was very well done.


  2. Norma Groshans April 6, 2013 / 8:15 am

    This was an insightful way to bring a bible story we all know so well into our lives and relationships today. I also like the way your parents chose to raise their children. The boys had their (manly) chores and you had your (womanly) duties.
    What a lovely story of what a family was meant to be.


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