What's Yours Is Mine…
Faithful God, You keep Your promises to me. May I faithfully keep my promises to You and others, too.
Read Genesis 31:22-42
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). That is some challenge!
With Jacob’s flight and Laban’s pursuit, the animosity between them escalates into something that’s variously described as either a restrained negotiation or an all-out fight! Some commentators refer to the anger clearly present in the discussion between them; others refer to Laban’s moderation (due to his dream warning him not to harm Jacob). Reading the biblical text, it’s not easy to decide what Laban is most upset about. There’s Jacob’s deception in leaving, no doubt with the loss of his and his family’s labor. There’s Laban’s being unable to provide a suitable celebration and loving farewell. At the last, there’s the theft of something very important to Laban: the teraphim, which he seems to have used for purposes of divination. It’s often the case that in the heat of the moment the matter of most concern finally bursts out under pressure. Here, it turns out to be an argument about what can only be viewed as a crudely comic description of Laban being unable to find what was stolen by Rachel. Jacob, ignorant of what really happened, and in his innocence of the true situation, is righteously angry and responds to Laban’s accusations with a tirade of his own, detailing his own grievances and hardships through the previous two decades. He again attributes what he now has to God’s oversight.
Many years ago I had an experience of family conflict and I know that dealing with such matters can be fraught with tension. They require delicate handling, especially by those closely connected, even if they are not the ones actually involved. It wasn’t for quite some time, and with someone being willing to keep communications open during that time that, through prayer and by God’s grace, both acknowledgement of fault and forgiveness could be expressed, and loving relationships gradually rebuilt.
Today, pray for anyone you know who is caught up in a difficult family situation. Ask God for sensitivity and grace in whatever involvement you have.
Patient Lord, in relational struggles, I love to win. Forgive me. By Your grace, may I always take the humble, forgiving way.