There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” I Samuel 1:1-8 ESV
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV
Cinderella once had a mother and a father, but her mother died. Then her father married another woman who had two daughters. That gave Cinderella a stepmother and two stepsisters. When her father died, things got really bad for Cinderella. Her stepmother and stepsisters made her do all the work. They were jealous of her because she was so beautiful. She had to dress in rags and try to keep warm in the ashes near the fireplace. It was not a happy family for her, but instead a family full of jealousy and tears.
Elkanah had a family like that. He had two wives, and one wife had children and the other one didn’t. Hannah was the one who didn’t have children, and it made her sad. The other wife, Peninnah, used to tease her about it, which would make her feel even worse. Elkanah didn’t like to see Hannah sad, because he loved her. He tried to make her feel better by giving her extra food, but that just made Peninnah jealous and she would tease Hannah some more. It was not a happy family.
Sometimes our families aren’t happy, either. We feel jealous of each other, and tease or say hurtful things. We might cry, or we might make other people in our family cry. This is not the way God wants families to be. Jesus came to die on the cross to forgive our sins, including our sins of hurting the members of our family. Because of Jesus’ forgiveness, we are able to forgive each other for the way we hurt each other. God sends us his Holy Spirit to help us love and help each other in our families.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for our families. Help us love the people in the family and to help them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.