Thursday, February 12, 2009

When families fail.

torn family

Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
Genesis 27:41

This is the fruit of a sin-filled dysfunctional family. It started with the horrible practice of parents playing favorites with their sons. It moved on to power politics within a family in which a mother and her son (Jacob) plot against the culture and leadership of a father and the oldest son (Esau). The result was deception, broken spirits, disappointment, and bitter hate.

Esau articulates the worst that can happen when the closest relationships that we should have on earth turn sour. He is plotting to kill his brother over the deception, trickery, and robbery of his blessing. He does not remember selling his birthright, but he is bitter over the loss of the blessing of his father, because he was closest to dad and felt he deserved it most of all.

This dynamic gets repeated even today. It may not end in murderous revenge thinking, but it might, given the right circumstances. I know as a counselor that the family dynamic can foster a lot of bitterness. Sinners sin against sinners and sinners that get sinned against respond sinfully. That is exactly what happened in the family tents of Isaac and Rebekah. And it occurs in the manicured lawns and Parade of Homes domiciles of my culture!

The most valuable commitment in relationships is in these close family settings. It is worth committing to biblical standards. It must be guarded, protected, watched, nurtured, and taught. And nothing else I do is nearly as important as helping my family work through conflicts and sins with grace and forgiveness. It starts with guarding my own heart, moves into guarding my unique oneness with my wife, and extends to the character and commitments of my children.

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