Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he named it Galeed, and Mizpah, for he said, “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. Genesis 31:48-49
When God is left out of relationships, things can deteriorate rather quickly. This is true whether it involves relationships in families, in churches, or even in nations. Good covenants, the kind God makes with us, are beautiful treaties. They promise protection, provision, inner prosperity, and longevity. The knowledge that such a covenant can exists is a comfort to us. When life gets challenging, we want to know that there is someone to whom we can run.
Unfortunately, there is another kind of covenant. It is the kind Laban made with Jacob. Although they were extended family, there was hurt and distrust. Neither wanted to be vulnerable to the other. To ensure that there would be no malice, a covenant was made. Stones were assembled into pillars and oaths were taken. In essence, this was their agreement. “Even when you can’t see me, you don’t need to fear me. I will not harm you.” This is one of the first non-aggression pacts.
Politically, countries make treaties like this kind today. The two countries are really enemies but neither can afford the fallout of war. To self-protect, they draw up a non-aggression pact.
What is most tragic is when these unspoken pacts exist in a family. “You stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours.” “Swear that you will never do that again and I’ll make it worth your while!” Such words certainly break the heart of a God who sees His beautiful design of a family defaced. What is the cure for these self-protective, non-aggressive promises between people? The personal revival of both parties.
If I love God more than I love you, and you love God more than you love me, neither of us need to fear the other. We may or may not be close friends. That is beside the point. But just the knowledge that spiritual integrity exists erases the need to continually look over our shoulders.
Unholy standoffs are healed with prayer and humility, but it takes two. May it be. Amen