Why Can’t You Be Like Your Brother?

One cardinal rule of parenting is:

Do not compare your children to each other–especially not out loud, and never as a means of behaviour modification.

All of our three children lived by the adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” For one of them, however, that place was the floor. This did not represent a philosophical difference, the child would insist, merely a geographical one. But more than once, my wife and I made the mistake of verbalizing our comparison between our fastidious “operating room child” and our more phlegmatic “public landfill child.”

That being said, how would you like to grow up with a sinless sibling?

James the Apostle did–he was the half-brother of Jesus. Understanding that makes his epistle even more profound, as one realizes that James’ benchmark for his exhortations is his Perfect Brother.

A Brother Who never despaired when trials came; Who never lacked wisdom; Who never yielded to temptation; Who was the only begotten Son of the Father of Lights–in fact, the very Light of the world Himself.

A Brother Who never showed partiality; Who never violated a single commandment; Who never demonstrated a disparity between faith and works.

A Brother Who never uttered a sinful word; Who was never self-centred.

A Brother Who never fought or lusted for anything; Who never spoke evil of another person. Ever. Who never made plans that were not in keeping with God’s will and was never presumptuous.

A Brother Who never mistreated employees–or disciples; Who was never sick because of His sin; Who never prayed without faith; Who never wandered from the truth.

The apostle is not just fantasizing about an idyllic spiritual life. He knows what a person would look like who lived as he proposes.

After all, he grew up with a Perfect Brother.


2 thoughts on “Why Can’t You Be Like Your Brother?”

  1. I’m glad that provoked you, Deborah! I won’t be reading James the same way anymore, either. If you’re like me, you have a love-hate relationship with that book–you love it because it’s the Word of God and hate what you see in the mirror…

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