DOES LOVE AUTOMATICALLY RUN IN THE FAMILY?
As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month. Genesis 29:13-14
Jacob announced who he was to his uncle as Laban threw his arms around Jacob, confirmed that he was his own flesh and blood, and feigned a depth of affection that wouldn’t materialize when tested. Did Jacob let his guard down when he was embraced? Probably so. That’s what we tend to do when we are among family. It will turn out that Laban is generous with Jacob but only in a way that is self-serving.
In this fallen world, love is just flawed. No one loves perfectly. Family relationships are messy and sinful human nature acts out constantly. What makes the road so treacherous is that love can exist one minute and disappear the next when it requires something in the relationship that is too steep. A generous person becomes stingy in a moment over the right issue. Unless you know them well, you might not know the limits of their fidelity and at what point they will serve themselves instead of you. Jacob will find out the hard way about the heart of Laban and suffer under his selfish scheming. But then again, hadn’t Jacob just done the same thing to his own family? He schemed to extort a blessing from his father. What he has sown, he will reap.
How should I function in a normal family? I don’t want to live suspicious of everyone but I also don’t want to be naïve and trust indiscriminately. I will err on either side if I try to live by my own gut. Sometimes I’ll get it right but there will be just as many times I am taken in by another’s ability to deceive. “My brother, we’re family!” goes a long way to melt a misgiving that might be warranted.
God promises wisdom to all who ask and who seek it like gold. God will guide me right as I navigate relationships with others who share my bloodline. I will get it wrong sometimes. That’s life. And when I do, I can’t get bogged down in the mire of resentment and revenge. I’ll grieve my losses, forgive, embrace the lessons I’ve learned about the hearts of people, and move on to love with my eyes wide open.
Continue to heal my fear of people. Amen
Journal Question: Do you need to make a course correction in your approach to family? Do you err toward caution instead of openness? Or trust instead of wisdom? Ask God for the wisdom to walk in balance.