The day after Mother died, one of my brothers went into her house and took her silver and fine china, leaving the rest of us with almost nothing. Later, he claimed Mother had said she wanted him to have them, although he had no proof. This was five years ago, and we've hardly spoken since. Why are people so greedy? — N.S.
Greed is very destructive - as our own society has discovered in recent months. It not only destroys relationships, but it also destroys our souls. The Bible takes the sin of greed very seriously - so seriously that it puts greed on the same level as immorality, and labels it as idolatry (see Colossians 3:5).
Why does greed take root in our hearts and minds? The reason is because we leave God out of our lives, and put ourselves and our desires ahead of everything else. A greedy person is only interested in himself, and cares little for others and their needs. A greedy person also becomes consumed with things and with money; everything else fades into the background. No wonder Jesus warned, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" (Luke 12:15).
What your brother did was thoughtless and insensitive - and also wrong. Even if your mother did say something to him about these things, he should have insisted she express it to the rest of you so there would be no misunderstanding later. Learn from this as you think about your own passing; have a will, and do all you can to avoid such conflicts.
In addition, ask God to help you forgive your brother. It may not change his attitude - but it will change yours, and keep you from being bound by the past.