The Little Bother
“Oh! NOT FAIR! Why does he get to stay up past 10:00? We never got to do that when we were his age!” I cried to my father.
To which he flatly replied, “Well, that’s because we love him more.”
My mouth dropped open in astonishment and readied myself to speak…but nothing came out. Certainly, I had wondered if my parents loved my siblings more than me, as it was obvious that I was the victim of unfair treatment for years. Yet, I couldn’t figure out as to why that could be the case. My little “bother” was nothing but a nose-twitching pain in the neck. Every time I looked at him I wanted to punch him in the face. I couldn’t understand why my parents wouldn’t naturally feel the same way. It seemed obvious to me and I was convinced that everyone must secretly feel that way.
I remember when he was 5 years old. My parents chose not to start him in kindergarten and keep him home from school for one more year. I took this as more evidence that he was too dumb for school. I have always thought of myself as being more intelligent that my little “bother”. It didn’t matter that he received nearly straight A’s all through school. I was still smarter. It didn’t matter that the teachers all thought that he was a perfect little angel. I knew better…he was the little bother.
Even today, I am smarter. Sure he has a PhD and wears a white coat to work. Yes…he can understand the complexities of the human genome. Yet, it is I who knows where his GI Joe action figure was hidden…and still lies…snuggly in the basement wall secretly behind the drywall.
Considering all of my own personal feelings of superiority, it is no wonder that my dad’s words took me by surprise. Yet…the words HAD BEEN spoken.
“Well, it’s still not fair!” I finally retorted.
I know that I am not alone in these feelings. I hear some of the same phrases coming from my own children like a constant drip from a leaky faucet.
“Not fair! Why do I ALWAYS have to be the one to walk the dog?”
“You don’t…now go walk the dog.”
“Not fair! Why am I ALWAYS the one who gets into trouble?”
“Because you are ALWAYS the one who is doing something wrong.”
“Not fair! Why don’t I get any ice cream?”
“Because I paid for it…and I ate it all.”
“Not fair! Why doesn’t Erica ever get into trouble?”
“Because, we love her more.”
Even my wife, Sarah, has experienced the “not fairs.” Recently she was sorting through a box of papers that her mother had kept from her childhood. As she was reading through some of the old articles and notes, she came across a brief message that had been written to her parents. “Nobody loves me…TRUE!”
As much as it likely pains my little “bother,” my parents did love me. In fact, it is quite possible that they even loved ME more. I love my children more than anything. Sarah’s parents loved her…even in the midst of the note. Yet, we often fall into our own self absorption and cannot see the truth that exists right in front of us. I find it ironic…that in an act of cherished “love,” Sarah’s parents kept that little note of sorrow.
The book of Malachi reveals the truth of the unconditional love of God. In this incredible book we will see the patient and unending love that God has for us…even when we don’t see it. Like the keeping of the note in a box, Malachi 1:1-5 reveals the evidence of the love of God.
May you be assured that God loves you…and God love me!
What do you think of that Little Bother?