If you want to get the whole family together, you need a wedding or a funeral. It makes sense because as families grow it becomes increasingly difficult to find a place to meet so these big occasions tend to be when families gather. As a person who takes funeral services the thing that has surprised me the most is how many families have deep rifts. Very often close family members are not invited to the funeral. It is much more common than I had imagined. Isaac’s family was deeply divided and there was a simmering hatred just below the surface.
‘Esau held a grudge against Jacob’, who would blame him; Jacob’s conduct had been disgraceful. The problem of course is that this type of bitterness only hurts the person holding it.
“I know from personal experience how damaging it can be to live with bitterness and unforgiveness. I like to say it’s like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die.” (Joyce Meyer)
There is a steely resolve that comes through bitterness that can lead to a sort of strength but it will eat away at your soul and grieve the Holy Spirit.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:30-31)
Esau should have enjoyed the remaining time he had with Isaac. They were obviously close and we read that Isaac loved Esau. Instead, Esau couldn’t wait for his father to die so that he could kill his twin brother.
Sin is often seen in a positive light in our society and I would think that as they planned their deception, it must have looked clever and slick. The results of sin can be clearly seen in the aftermath of the incident, the family is divided. Today we constantly hear of love and being ‘true to yourself’ but we are oblivious to the results. Relationships are disposable in our throwaway society and generations are growing up without the stability of a secure family unit. Sin separates and divides; it always has. In the garden we saw how sin caused our earliest ancestors to hide from God and the pattern continues; ‘But your iniquities have separated you from your God’. (Isaiah 59:2). In the garden we saw how sin caused division between Adam and Eve; “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’” Here we see Rebekah’s ‘slick and clever plan’ resulted in bitterness, resentment and division. It wasn’t clever at all.
Last year Vincent Uzomah, a teacher, was stabbed in the stomach in a premeditated racist attack as he taught in Dixons Kings Academy in Bradford, south Yorkshire. The teenager racially abused him, stabbed him and then bragged about it on Facebook where the post received 69 likes. Following the conviction of the teenager, Mr Uzomah stood outside Bradford Crown Court and made a statement to the awaiting journalists;
“As a Christian I have forgiven this boy who has inflicted this trauma and pain on me and my family. Our prayer for him is that he will make use of the opportunities and support that will be provided to him to become a changed person who will make a positive contribution to the society.”
Forgiveness isn’t weakness, it is very powerful.
God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name,
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name;
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share His love as He told me to.
He said: ‘Freely, freely, you have received,
Freely, freely give;
Go in My name, and because you believe
Others will know that I live.’ (Jimmy and Carol Owens)