rebelling against low expectations

What I Learned When My Parents Called Out My Sin


Recently, God has been teaching me three lessons through some situations that are going on in my life.

I was living hypocritically, acting one way in public and another in private. My relationship with my younger siblings is now quite strained.

Two or three weeks ago my parents had a talk with me. I decided that I have to learn to love my siblings. Since then, God has been teaching me three big lessons and I want to share them.

1. Love is definitely a choice, not a feeling.

In today’s world we are being bombarded with the message that love is a feeling. In Christian circles we may be told that love is a choice, but it’s usually referencing marriage, purity, etc., and it’s easy to disregard that when we’re just “loving” parents, siblings, and friends.

However, my dad has often told me that the way I treat my siblings now is a breeding ground for how I will treat my spouse and children later.

If I only “love” my siblings when they’re nice to me, I will only love my husband when he’s being nice to me. I will only love my children when they’re being good and behaving.

It’s easy to “love” my sister when she just gave me chocolate. It’s easy to “love” my brother when he’s having a good conversation with me.

It’s not so easy to love my sister when she’s acting like she’s the older sister.

It’s not so easy to love my 14-year-old brother when he’s making 14-year-old brother jokes at my expense.

But I need to love my siblings the right way, or it will be way harder for me to love my husband and children the right way later on.

2. Life is not (and cannot) be about me.

The Bible makes it clear that pride is an abomination to God (that means a really, really bad sin). God has shown me recently how pride has gotten in the way, how it’s damaged my relationships with my siblings.

If my relationships are to be restored, I have to get rid of my pride.

When I’m making my life about me, things go downhill real fast! When I’m focusing on God, my relationships are just way better. When I’m thinking about myself, it’s easy to become angry when my sister and brothers are “making fun of me” (as I put it). Not so easy when I’m thinking about what Jesus went through the last few days before He died.

3. Prayer is powerful!

The Kendrick brothers’ new movie War Room emphasizes this point. Prayer can heal relationships. Prayer can heal broken hearts. Prayer can unite people in ways nothing else can.

Since I started this mission to restore my relationships with my younger siblings I have tried to really pray for at least one of them every day for a “lengthy” amount of time (5-10 minutes). It’s not as easy as it may sound (well, sometimes it is …), but it is so worthwhile.

We have had numerous conversations that didn’t end with me feeling bad about myself or others! We have played with each other several times, and we all had fun!

It’s not been easy, but I believe I’m making progress … No that’s not right, that makes it sound like it’s about me. Ugh, I did it again. I made life about Grace! I can’t do that anymore. I’m changing my mindset.

God is making progress in me!

Like I said, it’s not been easy. It’s still hard. Harder than I can say. God is helping me. Changing me. Making me more like Jesus …

And hey, that’s what the Christian life is all about, isn’t it?

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Photo courtesy of Erik Barfoed and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Grace Reece

is a young writer living in Oklahoma who has a passion for encouraging other young people struggling with depression and anxiety and helping them overcome their mental illness using Biblical principles. If she's not writing, she's probably reading, working, at Church, or watching a movie or good TV show. You might also find her drinking coffee and/or eating chocolate...if she isn't writing, that is.


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  • This is a really cool article! Thanks for writing! Prayer is really awesome. I too feel like God is calling me to pray more than usual. Prayer personally builds my faith, and keeps me close to God. I love that He listens to our prayers! It’s not like God has all the time in the world. He has countries to protect, and people to heal! Yet He chooses to love us, and listen to us!

  • Thank you for sharing, Grace! I have been learning a lot about love lately, as well. I have been reading a lot in John 15 and 1 John in which it talks a lot about abiding in God’s love and that we know that we are abiding in God’s love if we are loving others. I have been learning to daily ask God to fill me with his love, so that his love is what spills out of me. And loving others is not always easy. In fact, often it is not, because true love means laying down our life for a friend/brother/sister just as Christ laid down his life for us.

  • This is crazy. . .Why is everything in my life suddenly about prayer!!!! I guess God works that way sometimes.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this article, Grace! I’m glad you brought up life not being about us! It’s so easy to get that wrong. But we are not desserts waiting to be filled with love. We are the most loved people in the world, made to love others and, first and foremost, God.

  • This is great! Thank you for sharing! And I also like the movie War Room. The message was really powerful, and right now I feel that God wants me to make improvements in my prayer life.

  • This was really good, thank you so much for sharing this! I guess it would be strange to move here from SoCal, what do you think’s the weirdest Okie-ism you’ve run into so far? (Like ordering pizza to watch the tornado warnings, or something)

    • I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a wormhole between California (specifically SoCal) and Oklahoma. I lived in OK for almost 15 years and it seemed like half the people in OK were from California.

  • Thanks for writing! #2 was a great reminder for me. I think a lot of times my joyfulness depends on how successful I think I am. If I’ve accomplished a lot of good things in one day, I feel happy, and if I haven’t accomplished much at all, I feel gloomy and like I’m not good enough. Thats not right, because the reason I should do good things in the first place is to please God. Ultimately, it’s about him, not me 🙂

  • These are really great reminders, especially #3. Sometimes it is hard for me to pray for more than five minutes, which is something I need to work on. Also, I love “War Room”! I thought it was a very motivating film.

  • Thank you so much for writing this, Grace! I sometimes struggle with my relationship with siblings too. #2 really impacted me(well, they all did, but #2 is the one I need to work on the most). I need to work on laying aside my own wants and desires and focus on others and their wants and desires more. Really, really good! 🙂

  • This is a great article, Grace! Thank you for writing it. Sometimes I struggle with my sibling, too. I really needed this.

  • I can’t agree more. Love is absolutely a choice. The strange thing is that these are some of the very things me and my friends have been talking about recently.

    What about our neighbors that are dying in sin? How can we walk by them without any care for their futures… leaving them to die and suffer eternal punishment? All this while we (happily) abuse God’s grace?

    So much to think about… and do.

    Good job, Grace!

    God bless,
    –Josiah J.

    P.S.: If you haven’t read a book of the Bible 20 times in one week –you are totally missing out. I did it, and words can’t describe how happy I am that I did it. Jude is the one I did (comes highly recommended).

    If you do choose to do it –read at a normal pace and think about what your reading. Also, for an extra bonus, try to summarize the book in your mind each time you read it though.

    Here is the best analogy I can give you: It is like shooting a grappling-hook into the side of truth and holding on.

    • That is so true. I love your analogy. I really like the idea of reading a book of the Bible 20 times a week. I will have to try that. 🙂

  • I am so blessed to hear that you are willing to grow however hard it is. Fighting the flesh is a lifetime event and the sooner we learn the lessons, the sooner we are to recognize when it is happening.

    You said, “However, my dad has often told me that the way I treat my siblings now is a breeding ground for how I will treat my spouse and children later.” That is a wise man. Not only that, but if not corrected, it will turn into how you treat God.

    Honor the truth, absorb the truth and live the truth. Excellent insight.

    Sincerely in Him,
    Mrs. Jean

  • Thank you for posting this. I agree that love is a choice and not a feeling. I have two younger brothers and loving them is defiantly a choice.

  • What? I’ve actually never heard of that one, lol. I love being around people who are laid-back like that. It’s relaxing, somehow.

  • I don’t think I’ve chosen to love my siblings for a long time now. I do have a sense of duty where i basically would die for them, but not out of love just out of obligation.
    ” the way I treat my siblings now is a breeding ground for how I will treat my spouse and children later”
    That scares me. One of my life goals is to love my future wife and children, and my biggest fear has been that if i get as close to them as i have to my siblings, will i start to treat them the same way?
    I need to pray on this. Hard.
    I keep trying ot make this about me, ugh. My will is not my own, it was purchased at a high price and I need to remember that. Love is a choice, and my choices don’t belong to me. They belong to God, who knows what to do with them better than I ever could.

    Thank you Grace,

  • Grace, THANK YOU for sharing this with us and being so open about it. God knew how much I needed to read this.
    I’m so encouraged every time I come to this website to see real people my age talking about real things that I struggle with too. 🙂

  • Grace, this is exactly where I am!! I keep saying that I’m proud and I get angry too quickly, but I don’t do anything about it. I really struggle with loving my brother and not making it about me. Thank you for writing this, for telling me again that I don’t really have a choice: I need to love, and it will never, ever just happen. It takes work.

  • This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today! Thank you SO much!!! I have 7 siblings and my parents are going on a week long vacation this week (they left early this morning) so it’s going to be extra hard with my siblings. Really glad I read this!

By Grace Reece
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →