In the book of Genesis we read that God instructed Jacob to gather his wives, Rachel and Leah, and their children, and leave his father-in-law’s homeland. Laban had been unfair to Jacob over the course of several years and now God was sending Jacob to the land of Canaan.
As Jacob and his family were making their covert departure from Laban’s camp, Rachel took her father’s gods. It was believed that the gods carried prosperity and protection, so when Laban discovered that both his family and his gods were missing he pursued them. Jacob, not knowing that Rachel had the gods, challenged Laban to search his possessions.
Laban began his search, but before he entered the tent of Rachel she hid the gods beneath her saddle and sat on it. She lied persuasively to her father, claiming that she was in that time of the month and could not stand up. Thoughtfully, Laban believed her and departed from Jacob’s camp without his possessions.
In a conversation with Jacob just prior to leaving their homeland, Rachel and Leah spoke angrily about Laban. We read it in Genesis 31:14-16 as follows, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children…” Laban’s daughters were hurt and offended by their father’s poor treatment of them, and they felt cheated out of their inheritance.
Rachel especially compounded her heartache when she found it within herself to steal and deceive. She let the emotional impact of her unresolved hurt predispose her toward a chain of self-justified sin.
Forward to this century and we see marked evidence of these same dynamics. Negative behavior, real or perceived, has had a degenerative effect on countless relationships. If unresolved, such conditions breed more hurt and these excessive emotions hemorrhage all over our personal worlds. The more that we let our emotions bleed, the more that these destructive patterns will form; the result being a succession of self-serving behavior. As they say, “hurting people, hurt people”.
So how do we stop the bleeding? The answer is in the principle of forgiveness. You may shake your head in dismay saying, “You have no idea what has been done to me… are you kidding, I cannot forgive that person… how can forgiveness make this pain go away… and ultimately, why should I forgive, I don’t want to let the person off the hook!”
In my own journey toward forgiveness, I made these very statements. I know first-hand that they flow unreservedly from a wounded heart. But remember, the principle of forgiveness was established by God for our sake. He wants us to be whole, so He will see to it that our concerns and objections are addressed or overcome. Jesus gets it.
He chose to forgive those who humiliated Him, ripped the skin off His back, stabbed Him with thorns, put nails through His flesh and mocked His kingship. He knows what has been done to you and He identifies with your needs. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.
So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Rachel carried an emotional load into her future as disconcerting as the gods that she would forever have to hide. I urge you beloved, do not do the same. Apply forgiveness to your situation and with Jesus’ help you can… stop the bleeding.
Proverbs 20:22 NIV Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.
Matthew 6:14 NIV For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Romans 12:18-20 NIV If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 9/6/2009 3:57 PM