Cloud of Witnesses


Leah and Rachel

Not so happy families!

Tags: relationships conflict self-esteem

Most of us dream of a happy family. TV adverts show loving parents, laughing children, doting grandparents and bounding pets, the reality is not quite like that for most of us though! Still, that’s not a new thing, ever since Cain killed Abel brothers and sisters have been fighting. There really is nothing new under the sun... read on!

READ Genesis 29.16-30

1. How would you summarise the actions of:

  • Jacob?
  • Laban?
  • Rachel?
  • Leah?

What follows is the ‘soap opera’ type story of how this deception outworked in the lives of Jacob and his wives. Eastenders meets the Patriarchs!

READ Genesis 29.31 – 30.24.

2. How would you describe the actions & personalities of Rachel, Leah & Jacob?

3. From what you know of the later story of Jacob’s sons what do you think the long term affects of this bitterness and rivalry were? (Genesis 35.16-22 & Gen 37 might help!)

4a. This is an extreme example, but how far do you think ‘sibling rivalry’ is commonly the cause of conflict and problems in families? How far is it the case in your family?

4b. What was the root of the problem in this family and what do you think causes sisters and brothers to behave in this way more generally?

Read Luke 6.27-38.

5. What might these instructions look like in your context?  As a Christian (whether your family members are or not) how might you break some of the destructive patterns in your family and model a different way of living together?

6. The New Testament states that all Christians are God’s children, ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’. How far do you think spiritual ‘sibling rivalry’ is common in the church and what are the effects of that?
Why do you think that is the case – and how might we address/ resolve that?

Spend some time praying for each other and specific relationships that are difficult at the moment. Ask God to show you how to respond in a Christ-like way to those in your family, or church that you find difficult.

© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 19 November 2009