We’ve been doing a series on Genesis in our Weekend Services, focusing on the New Beginning that God has for all of us. I’ve been sitting here tweaking my notes for tomorrow’s message and I found myself relating to Jacob more than I wanted to. By nature, I think I try to rely on quick thinking and wit, and out talking other people to get what I want, hence taking shortcuts. Obviously those are flaws that God constantly deals with me about.
Another method Jacob employs is running away. After deceiving both Isaac, his father, and his hairy brother Esau, he runs for his life to his uncle Laban. Here he learns what it’s like to be on the receiving end of manipulation. Despite his flaws, God still has a plan for his life (Genesis 28:13-15). But a big part of that is facing his past. Fleeing Laban pointed Jacob right in the direction of his brother. This time there was nowhere else to turn. It was time to confront his past.
Peacekeeping doesn’t work. Going into passive aggressive mode isn’t the answer. We can’t just avoid conflict or refuse to address it thinking that will make everything better. It must be dealt with. “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family” (Matthew 5:9, Message).
Time heals nothing. Neither does distance. This is another method of avoidance and separation. We can also call it postponing or procrastinating. It leaves things open-ended and unresolved. While we try to “run away” God will orchestrate circumstances where we’ll keep encountering the past until we make peace with it…even after 20 years. However, I’ve learned this about time. While it doesn’t heal, it does give people time to think and calm down.
Repressing isn’t reconciling. We fool ourselves into thinking we’ve left the past behind; we insist we’re facing tomorrow and yesterday is irrelevant. But in actuality, we’re burying the feelings and trying not to think about them. Our words and attitudes betray us and it’s obvious to others there’s been no resolution.
The consequences usually aren’t as bad as we imagine they’ll be. We spend so much time overthinking and overanalyzing every possible response, scenario, and possibility til we’re anxious. The results just might surprise us if we decide to obey instead of resist. If we really believe reconciliation is God’s plan, He will work out the details for His glory. That doesn’t mean it will be perfect, but it’s still best.
“He (Jacob) himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept” (Genesis 33:3-4).