As all homeschool moms know, "Spring Cleaning" means sorting through the past year’s piles of papers, notebooks, "artwork", essays, portfolios, and lots of books. Recently I was digging through some of these piles when I ran across a book I hadn’t seen in quite a while. It was written by fellow homeschool mom Pam Forster, and this short booklet had the interesting title of The Brother-Offended Checklist: What to Tell a Tattletale. I have five tattletalers in my home, so I was intrigued! I opened the book and began to read:
“Mom-my! He took my truck!”
How we deal with an “offended brother” is important.
As parents, we can encourage our child to become a talebearer, or we can help him learn to deal with offenses and offenders in the way God has outlined for us.
We can teach him to speak honestly and humbly with the person who offended him, or we can encourage him to gossip and to involve others in his complaints.
We can urge him to graciously overlook minor faults and offenses, or we can allow him to become a proud and petty judge of other’s weaknesses and sins.
We can help him learn to trust God and His delegated authorities, or we can allow him to harbor grudges and bitterness when he believes that justice has not been exercised.
Teaching our children to obey God’s instructions when facing their own sins and the sins of others will affect their relationships for the rest of their lives. It will help them become better spouses, better parents, better friends, better church members.”
Ouch! There’s no doubt that my children are tattletales from time to time…but as an adult, I struggle with the very same behaviors! Tattletales grow up and continue telling their tales of woe and injustice to anyone who will listen. It may surprise you to find that in the Bible, God addresses the heart of the “offended brother” as often as he addresses the one who has offended.
As parents, we struggle to teach our children how to love each other and forgive each other so that as adults, they can follow God’s instruction to “live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). But tattling isn’t just for kids! God must have known what a huge temptation it is to want to tell on everyone who has hurt us, because the Bible is filled with instruction not only for those who are the offenders, but also for those who are the “offended brothers." So how should we respond when someone has offended us? The Brother Offended Checklist summarizes what the Bible has to say:
God knows our hearts, and He knows how hard it can be to get along at times! But He also expects that those who profess to love Him follow the example He set through His son Jesus. When we follow God’s “checklist” for loving each other, we become a church which pleases Him, and one which He is eager to bless.You can find The Brother-Offended Checklist as well as many other wonderful character-building books and products at Doorposts.