A certain degree of competitiveness is good as it keeps everybody focused and striving to do better by extending themselves, but when it gets beyond being friendly, it becomes destructive.

Saul viewed David as a threat and tried to dispose of him to protect his own kingly position (1 Sam 26:1-25).  David however, did not retaliate or force the issue even though he knew the ruler-ship was destined to be his, instead he respected the Lord’s appointed (present) King and waited patiently for Him to bring the change about in His own time. King Herod also felt insecure and killed many children when he heard about Jesus, the King of the Jews, being born (Mt 2:1-3,16). Both Saul and Herod saw these emerging leaders as threats to their own survival and popularity. In contrast John the Baptist had the divine perspective, and when hearing about the growing ministry of Jesus willingly said, “He must increase while I decrease” (Jn 3:30). God declared we
are not to have any other God but Him, for He will not share His glory with any other (Ex 20:3-5; Isa 42:8, 48:11).

In business, rivalry helps keep prices restrained and stimulates innovation while in sport it brings out the talent in players, and pulls the team together as a group against the opposing side. However, rivalry among believers can lead to disagreements, self-centeredness and damage to the name of Christ,

 Rivalry is wrong for Christians because                   it is motivated by selfish ambition

instead of co-operating to, display to the world that God’s children are ‘one’ (Jn 13:35, 17:11,21; Jas 3:13-16).

We are to have a realistic yet proper opinion of ourselves based on God’s view, considering others better than us and endeavouring to spur one another
on to love and good works (Gal 6:3,4; Phil 2:3,4; Heb 10:24). This is in contrast to the world’s negative and self-focused approach of, ‘I am better than you’ resulting in jealousy, divisions and conflict (Gal 5:19-21).  We are to build others up by helping, encouraging and inspiring them in positive ways to reach their potential in Christ.  This results in all parties benefiting – God, them and us. When the early Christians developed rivalry amongst themselves Paul chided them saying we are on the same side as fellow workers with God, He’s the important one (1 Cor 3:3-9).

Sibling rivalry started with the first two brothers mentioned in Scripture (Cain and Abel), and has continued down through history, sometimes with one or both siblings taking ill-advised, sinful action. Such rivalry can stem from jealousy, selfishness, and parental partiality (real or perceived) with that between Cain and Abel seems to have been caused by Cain’s jealousy over the acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice (Gen 4:3-5). The home should be a place where children learn and treat each other with respect, kindness and love, as also modeled by the parents. The Bible states, “Love covers over all wrongs” and this should include every cause of sibling rivalry (Prov 10:12).  Jesus said our priority is to love God and to love our neighbour (Mk 12:30,31). Our neighbour can be clarified as those living in close proximity to us, and no one is in closer vicinity than our own brothers and sisters. Negative behaviour should be avoided and positive qualities developed in all our interaction with others (Eph 4:31,32; Phil 2:3,4). Although the story of Joseph and his brothers initially involved sibling rivalry based on jealousy and hatred, it had a happy ending involving brotherly love, forgiveness, and God’s goodness and sovereignty (Gen 37:3,4...50:20,21).

See also: competition, insecurity, jealous.

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