Sibling squabbles and the oldest argument in history
Originally published in ByziKids Magazine, Sept. 2021
By Judith Jolma
The tinkling of the little brass bell interrupted the commotion of the evening rush, alerting the children that dinner was ready. Four hungry kiddos abandoned their LEGO, scrambling to the dining room. Instantly, Anna slipped into a chair while Joseph grabbed the back of the same chair. Cecilia whined, “She sat there last night! I never get the good chair!” Kolbe, seeing he didn’t have a chance at winning his place in the coveted spot, plopped himself in a far seat and sulked.
“Listen up!” Mom scolded, “Don’t you know you are having one of the oldest arguments in history?”
It may seem like a child’s squabble, but adults have been fighting over the best chair for so long that even Jesus had to deal with it. “When you are invited to a wedding, do not take the place of honor. Instead,” Jesus told the Pharisees, “Take the last place. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The early Christians used to give the best seats to the rich and would make the poor sit in the chairs no one wanted. “Don’t do that!” the Apostle James said.
Jesus tried so many times to explain to his children that the only way to keep God’s commandments is to keep one simple law that we have come to know as the Golden Rule: Treat people the same way you want them to treat you. (That includes letting them have the best chair!) If we can master this, we will be able to keep all the commands of God.
But the disciples continued to argue over who would get the best chair. They all wanted to sit next to the Father in Heaven. Can’t you almost see Jesus slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand?
But our Lord is so patient. Gently, He tied a humble towel around his waist and began to wash His disciples' feet.
“Look,” He told them. “If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should do the same for others.”
It seemed so hard to God’s people to remember all the rules and commandments of the past. The more they memorized them, the more they used them to make themselves feel better than their neighbor. “I keep the law better than my neighbor so God must love me more,” they would think. They didn’t realize that by thinking this way they were breaking every one of God’s laws. So after humbly washing their dusty feet, Jesus said to His disciples “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
When we study the Ten Commandments, helps us understand what it means to love God and to love our neighbor. But we must always remember that if we are loving others out of our sincere love of God, we are keeping all of God’s commandments in that one simple act.
As a contributing editor for ByziKids, it is my pleasure to share these articles with the Sophia Homeschool community as well. Although Sophia Homeschool serves all homeschooling families regardless of faith or affiliation, I think you will enjoy this delightful publication. I hope to share these articles with you monthly as a regular feature here. Enjoy!
ByziKids Magazine is a pan-Eastern Christian, grassroots, monthly publication dedicated to the celebration of Byzantine Orthodoxy through the eyes of our children. We are not affiliated with any particular Church or jurisdiction, but welcome and strive to encompass the teachings and traditions common to all of Byzantine Orthodox-Catholic Christianity.
By Judith Jolma, Founder of Sophia Homeschool.
Sophia Homeschool teaches parents how to homeschool. Learn more about our training at Sophiahomeschool.com
Learn how to create a homeschool method and environment based on your family's needs so you can thrive. My Foundations of Homeschooling Masterclass teaches parents to work with their budget, schedule, learning style, teaching style, and resources so each member of the family has his or her needs met— including yours! Learn to create a peaceful and joyful learning environment that lasts a lifetime. Identify learning differences and adapt your educational plan accordingly. Unlock the mysteries of teaching multiple grades at once. By knowing what your needs are, you will save thousands of dollars, time, and energy on methods that do not work. We will end homework battles and restore your relationship with your child.