See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:15
My sons, Zack and Mason, are the best of friends. People compliment me on it, as if I did something to create their amazing bond. Truth be told, I did nothing but give birth to them twenty-two months apart. I always presumed the closeness in age led to their closeness as brothers.
Since Jocelyn’s birth, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Without a doubt, she is the outsider, the third wheel to their dynamic duo. I don’t want that for her. I want her to have the spectacular gift of their deep sibling friendship.
The more I watch my boys, the more I realize Zack deserves the credit for his and Mason’s relationship. As the older brother, Zack naturally wields more power; it’s just how seniority works.
Zack made the decision long ago, whether consciously or unconsciously, to wield his power for the good with Mason. From day one, he gave Mason the love and respect he deserves. It was only natural for Mason to respond in kind. Of course they squabble now and then, but mostly they mind-meld and finish each other’s sentences.
Recently, I explained this to Mason when he was treating Jocelyn like a second class citizen. I told him how fortunate he was that Zack chose to wield his power for Mason’s good. Now with him being the older brother to Jocelyn, he has power. Although he’s been choosing to wield that power negatively, it’s never too late to change. I highlighted all Jocelyn’s great qualities that he was missing out on because he was choosing to not become friends with her.
Like I typically do with my kids, I waxed and waned until Mason’s eyes glazed over. Seeing this, I stopped and asked him to repeat back to me what my point was. I was pleasantly surprised when he nailed it.
Unfortunately, that didn’t mean things changed. Despite understanding my point in his head, he couldn’t seem to transfer it to his heart. He continued to treat Jocelyn like an annoyance. That is until last Saturday…
While my husband had the kids during my prayer time, Mason knocked on my door. He told me that he and Jocelyn were arguing while filling the recycle bins. For reasons he said he couldn’t explain, he suddenly stopped and asked Jocelyn if she wanted a hug. I had to smile when he reported, “She refused my hug, but that didn’t bother me.” He said that just offering that hug changed everything. Suddenly they were carrying recycle bins together, and were enjoying each other’s company.
He finished by saying, “Remember when you were telling me about that power thing? I think I get it now. And I think that if both Jocelyn and I worked harder, well probably, mostly, if I worked harder, we could become really good friends.” Needless to say, I was in tears.
I hugged Mason hard, and told him how proud I was of him. Then I asked him if he knew what grace was. When he said no, I explained that right in the middle of his annoyance with Jocelyn, God whispered grace in his ear, suggesting he offer Jocelyn a hug. Him accepting that holy nudge was him accepting grace. Acting on it was moving the concept from his head, to his heart. He surprised me again by saying, “Yeah, I’m working on that.”
We all have situations where we wield power over others. Maybe we’re the manager at our office, the chairperson for a committee, the more dominant person in a friendship, or simply the parent of our kids. In every interaction, we have a choice to wield our power for the good, or for the bad. God is always whispering the right way to act and be. Let’s all pray that, like Mason, we stay open to His holy nudges, accept His grace, and wield our power for the good, always.
Questions For Reflection:
* Do my older kids wield their power for the good with their younger siblings?
* If not, how can I teach them to understand this concept, and do so?
* Are there people in my life that I wield power over?
* Do I always wield that power for the good? If not, what can I do to change that?