People Are More Important Than Things

My second son, Edan, is very conscientious about his things. As an orderly and organized person, he tends to keep track of his belongings, and he likes to keep them in good condition. When his toys get broken or his plants (oh my, his plants!) don’t grow properly, he is deeply affected.

The other day, Titus, accidentally dropped Edan’s drawing art set. The cover of the set fell off and the contents of the kit tumbled out. Three of the charcoal drawing tools cracked. Uh oh. For a slightly obsessive person like Edan, this was going to be major. His set was now imperfect! Horror of horrors!

Edan wasn’t just upset, he ran off to cry on his bed in total frustration. Titus bawled too because he felt badly. This drawing kit was very new. Edan hadn’t even used it yet.

After Edan calmed down and processed his feelings, he came back out to the study room. His eyes were bloodshot and he was quiet. I empathized with him, but then I gently reminded him, “You know, Edan, I know you feel sad about what happened, but your relationship with Titus is more important than your art set.”

I decided to take advantage of the teachable moment and went on to explain that some family members fight over possessions and property. They let these issues come between them when they should love one another. Why can we love and forgive? Because Jesus has done this for us.

He nodded and acknowledged the truthfulness of what I was saying, but of course this was a difficult challenge for him. I know Edan loves Titus. However, feelings of frustration and anger lingered after he surveyed the damage done to his charcoal tools.

I didn’t force him to accept Titus’ apology. In fact, I left the situation alone first, hoping that the Lord would be the one to speak to both their hearts. Later on, I investigated to find out what happened. Edan told me, “I forgave him, mom. I told him he was more important to me than my art set.” I told Edan I was so proud of him. He had done the right thing.

Often times, as a mother, I have to wait on the sidelines of my older children’s lives when they make their choices. On the one hand, I do my best to instruct, teach, and disciple them. However, I need to leave room and space for the Holy Spirit to minister to them and convict them to make choices that please God. I can’t impose my will. I’m after heart-change in my kids and not external change.

Edan’s art set isn’t perfect anymore like he hoped it would stay. But I saw him playing with Titus this morning and all was well between them. They were enjoying one another’s company without the residual or lingering frustration that was present in Edan’s heart two days ago. It was a more beautiful scene than any art set could’ve drawn.

This situation exemplified a very minor  conflict that can arise between siblings and how love triumphed in the end. However, the sad reality is that many grown up siblings can’t stomach one another.  Very often, the issue that breaks them apart is money. I’m sure there was a point in time when these same angry family members were little children playing together and enjoying one another’s company like my kids were this morning. But along the way, the nature of the relationship changed when money problems came into the picture. This is a common story in the Philippines. Relationships are so often the casualty of fights over property and inheritance.

The Bible tells us, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36) It’s never worth it to let our soul rot in bitterness over mere things…things that have no value in eternity, that we cannot take with us. What gain is monetary wealth at the expense of relationships, especially at expense of the bond between siblings? Real poverty is to have everything in the world but to live in the absence of Christ’s love – His love for us, and His love in us toward others.

My prayer for my kids is they will preserve the bond of unity they share in Christ, that they will love one another the way Christ loves them. The art set was a small thing but I want my children to recognize that it lies in them, in all of us, to make things more important than people. The antidote is to this tendency is to love.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.” Proverbs 10:12

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

19 thoughts on “People Are More Important Than Things

  1. “It’s never worth it to let our soul rot in bitterness over mere things…things that have no value in eternity, that we cannot take with us.” Thank you for this Ms. Joy. I am a single woman in her mid twenties and about to get marry a minister of the Lord next year (God willing 🙂 Reading your blog always blesses me. It helps me prepare to be a godly wife and mother in the future.. I desire to home school my children as well and raise next generation that will love the Lord with all their hearts, soul, mind and strength by God’s grace 🙂 Thank you so much for loving the Lord first, it flows out from your life..

    1. Praise God! Thank you! May the Lord continue to guide you as you make that decision and give you the creativity, inspiration, and resolve to follow through with that decision if it is truly his will 🙂

  2. What a wonderful message! It is not only applicable to children but to adults as well.

    1. Ms. Joy,
      I know you leave comments like this to the Lord.. Keep holding your peace and let the Lord avenge for you.

      Hi Ano nymous
      You should tremble and fear for you are doing harm to the precious daughter of God

      1. Hi E,
        It’s just a question? There is nothing wrong with it unless you’re green minded!

        I was watching Joy on Youtube last night on how to build positive relationship and I think she’s such a brat kid (before) and the lesson to the story is don’t go with your mom and dad for dinner co’z they’re going to brainwash you in splitting with your boyfriend, Hahaha 🙂

          1. Actually you are right E, that was really inappropriate question, I’m not even in a slight position to ask that question. It was a questions that inspires me or tickles my mind for the past days upon reading some comments here on previous posts of G-STRING! It was really bad of me and stupid even. I am sorry I took such an offensive question. My own loneliness and being far away from home with no friends clouded my judgment. Please forgive me. Joy is the best! 🙂

      2. I just logged in now and read this thread. ha ha ha. I’m not sure what to say in response to this dialogue! ha ha ha. I thought it was a joke at first. Don’t worry, I’m not so easily offended or surprised by the questions or comments of people. Thank you for taking my defense, E, I appreciate it. And to Ano nymous, appreciate the apology and to your original question, I thought it was a spam message because it had nothing to do with this post! Anyway, the comments have come to a conclusion and no offense was taken. I do believe that certain issues aren’t worth reacting to right away as they sometimes have a way of resolving themselves. But yes, there is a delete button for majorly inappropriate comments and I’m glad I haven’t had to use it yet by God’s grace. But I can if I need too and that’s good to know! he he he

  3. Hi, Joy! Beautiful message wonderfully written, as always!
    As for those who leave totally inappropriate & uncalled for comments, that’s what the “delete” button is for. Or better yet, you most probably can set up your comments section in such a way that all comments posted are coursed through you first, so that you get to decide which comments are shown on your site before they are actually posted. That way, whatever it is that you deem as inappropriate or disrespectful gets filtered by you. It’s your site, your rules, after all.

  4. @Ano nymous?: Forgive me for being too quick in judging you. That was a lesson for me. The old lady I once heard was right when she said “Look for the best in others…” Really sorry for interpreting you wrongly and for over reacting. I’m still glad we had this conversation, I realized my sinful habit of being too quick to interpret things and people negatively and that has to change. I admire you for having a humble and teachable heart.

  5. Hi Joy, thank you for the wonderful story
    I have to say that this is what I’ve been praying for my sister to understand; that whenever my nephew broke some stuff in their things.
    I kept on reminding her that my nephew should feel more valuable and important than those things.
    Happy to read this and hopefully I can share this to her.
    God bless you. 🙂

  6. Awesome reminder. Just yesterday, I was so angry when I learned that my external harddrive is no longer usable. As usual I don’t even know the culprit as my siblings take turns in borrowing it. The sad part is that they didn’t even apologize. They just point fingers as to who’s the last one to used it. True, material things are not even comparable to people but when people don’t take responsibility over other people things it is just sad. I’m calm now but until now I’m still thinking of not letting them borrow my stuff (for a while maybe).

  7. Hi Ms. Joy,

    I would like you to know that whenever I’m having challenges with my life, your blog is one of the places I go to, to help myself be enlightened. Good thing I found this post as it’s very timely. I’m currently in a situation where I can’t decide whether to let go a fight with my husband because of an appliance or to continue the cold, silent treatment (because I was deeply hurt, not because of the appliance involved but because of the implication of our argument because of the appliance) 🙁 Thank you for being a blessing! This comment is to remind you that there are people like me who look at your blog as a source of inspiration, strength, and affirmation (at least for me). God bless!

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