When Love Goes Wrong

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 him 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 those we assume are safe. It will turn out that Laban will be generous with Jacob but only because it will be self-serving.

In this fallen world, love is just flawed. No one loves perfectly. Family relationships are messy. 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 believed to be too steep. A generous person becomes stingy in a moment over the right issue. You might be blind-sighted by 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 he will suffer under Laban’s selfish scheming. But then again, hadn’t Jacob done the same thing when he schemed to extort the blessing from his father? What he sowed, he is unfortunately reaping.

How should I function with family? I don’t want to live suspiciously but I also don’t want to be naïve and trust indiscriminately. Only God can impart that kind of wisdom, a street-smart kind of savvy. I won’t always get it right. There will be times I am taken in by another’s ability to deceive me. “I love you. We’re family!” can easily melt misgivings that might have been warranted.

God is near as I navigate relationships with those who share my bloodline. When wounded, I won’t get bogged down in the mire of resentment and revenge. I’ll grieve my losses, forgive, embrace the lesson I’ve learned about the hearts of those I’m still getting to know, and move on to love wisely with my eyes wide open.

Give me the wisdom to know how to live unoffended but within the parameters of safety. Amen

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