Sunday Snippet: You Are Your Brother’s Keeper…

This morning Hood #8 was baptized in front of our friends and family. I was standing there with all our kids in a row, hardly a row – more like a tumble of brothers and sisters. I got to thinking about what are the things that I want our kids to have on their hearts for each other as they grow up.


In our house I cannot tell you how often we say: “You are your brothers keeper” to our kids. It is something that is important to us. We want our kids to grow up being better than friends… But just what do we mean by “You are your brother’s keeper”

Romans 13:8 (New International Version) “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.”

If you consider how you feel when you owe someone a debt. Whenever you see them you are reminded “Ooh, I owe him.” It is top of our minds. Now Paul is calling us to owe the debt of love, whenever we see them we are to react in a loving way. It really defines caring beyond the expected duty and it needs to be top of our minds.


When we talk about the Golden Rule “loving one another as we love ourselves” we tend to think of it as some sort of balance-scale. “As he does, so I will do;” “If they do this for me today, then tomorrow I will do that for them;” and so on. We tend to be caught in a culture of doing the bare minimum, doing just what we have to do without being caught out or just enough without looking too bad. But Jesus was expecting more from us than a “tit-for-tat” Golden Rule.

John 13:34 (New International Version) A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Jesus expects us to love one another as He loved us. Now that raises the goal posts somewhat!!! Way above obligation, way above duty. We are called to love in a sacrificial way – giving without being asked to, helping before you are asked for help. Basically, before your brother knows that he needs you, you need to be there for him.


It is not a list of requirements that we are hoping they will achieve before they leave home but it is rather an attitude of the heart that they are to be there for each other, serve each other, stand by each other and protect each other. Now this might seem far too idealistic a thing to be teaching our kids but we want them to know that serving beyond the call of duty is a requirement of brotherly love.

So how do we achieve this: Here are se7en routine things we have going in our house:

  1. We encourage them to compliment each other, thank each other, be polite to each other.
  2. We praise any behavior that mimics what we are trying to achieve.
  3. We expect them to be joyful on their siblings behalf. For instance when their sibling gets a gift or reward that they haven’t received themselves.
  4. We like them to serve their siblings, not just do a task but do it in a way that that sibling would like the task done.
  5. They are encouraged to offer to help, I want to hear “How can I help you” floating around my house.
  6. We expect them to share when they get something that the others do not have. To share that candy treat, for example, and they do this.
  7. We want them help each other and to feel free to ask each other for help when they need it.

Now I know that, just like the neighbor in The Parable of the Good Samaritan, there is more to being a biblical brother than having the same parents. But this morning seeing all our kids together in one spot, which one doesn’t often see, I was thinking about brothers within the immediate family and their responsibility to each other. And not just brothers – but sisters too!!!

So often we get asked what do we do about sibling rivalry and how we deal with it, and believe me we are no where near squabble free. But to be honest we are far more concerned with focusing on the positive and teaching them to be their brother’s keepers.

That’s it. Just a thought for the week and I hope you have a good one.

This Post is part of The Thirty Minute Mom’s Challenge at Steady Mom.

28 Replies to “Sunday Snippet: You Are Your Brother’s Keeper…”

  1. Hi O, It is so easy to lose our focus in the midst of every day life!!! Sometimes it just needs an event to reminds us!!! You have a good week!!!

  2. What a wonderful joy in to a mom’s heart to see their child being Baptized. My son talks about it all the time but I feel he does not understand yet the ramifications is a quite imature 8 years old. On the other hand my daughter has yet to ask any deep theological questions. Maybe she does to her Sunday School teacher but not to me. Take care…

  3. Hi S, It really takes all types to make the world doesn’t it!!! Some get it early and some don’t, some are very spiritual and some aren’t. Whatever they are they are all blessings from God …and lent to us just for a time!!! Hope you have great week…

  4. Yes I agree it takes all types. My son seems much more interested in spiritual matters but seems so imature in other areas. My very mature acting 10 year old daughter, more like 10 going on 18 does not seem to have any interest in spiritual matters. She goes to church regularly and she is involved in our chuch activities but spiritual matters don’t seem to interest her. By the way the kids just received your postcard this afternoon and are hard at work creating their own postcard to send back to your kids. I told them that I woud buy a postcard but they would not ear of it when they saw your childrens wonderful creations. There is some mad painting going on the kitchen table right now…

  5. Hi S, Now that is exciting… mine haven’t figured they are getting postcards back yet!!! It is going to be a lovely surprise when they start arriving!!! Have Fun!

  6. I was there (hmm – come to think of it I haven’t missed many of the Hoods’ baptisms, have I?) and what a blessing it was to share this precious time. Hood 8 was a bit oblivious to the goings on, but I am 100% sure Hoods 1-7, not to mention Mom and Dad, will love and nurture him as part of God’s family.

  7. Hay M, I am so glad you could make it!!! Thank-you so much for being there and spending the time with us!!! Hope you have a fabulous week!!!

  8. Such a good post. I think I am going to adapt this for our son in his relationships with friends and other family, since he is an only child.

    Blessings to you!

  9. Hi T, Glad you like it… My kids know when I ask them: “Are you being your brothers keeper?” That I am expecting them to raise their game – nice just isn’t enough!!! It has been quite easy to extend beyond siblings when you think about who your brother is… Hope you have a fabulous day!!!

  10. Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Oh thank you for this wonderful post.

    Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings from The States.

  11. #3 on your list really jumped out at me- teaching them to be joyful on their sibling’s behalf- powerful stuff and difficult too! But what a gift to learn this at a young age 🙂

  12. Hi T, I realized that my kids had to be happy for each other when they started going on outings with their dad and I just couldn’t stand it turning into a war of whose turn it was or “his outing was better than mine…” Nothing spoils a treat faster than getting home to a bunch of envious grumblers. Not all kids are the same and their treats are not the same but over time we intend to be fair!!! My kids have learnt to be excited when their sibling gets an outing or a treat they didn’t get… because their turn will come and they are all treated in their own way. I expect them to be joyful when their brother gets a book he has been dying to read or a sister gets an outing to a movie… They seem to have got it!!!

  13. Thanks for visiting our family! Wow…you are a busy lady yourself. I am loving our bigger family. Sometimes wears me out :), but always the ones around me encourage me so much. I am rich in people!!!

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