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The Anatomy of a Grudge

Genesis 27

HUSBAND: When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?

WIFE : I clean the toilet….

HUSBAND: How does that help ?

WIFE : I use your toothbrush.

Anger. Resentment. Jealousy. Threats. Trickery. Manipulation. Deception. Sounds like words that may be splashed across a new thriller movie trailer. Nope, it’s just words describing this little story in the account of Jacob and Esau. Isaac is the lone person here who doesn’t seem to do anything wrong. Jacob, Esau and Rebekah are guilty as charged.

Long story short, Jacob is encouraged by his mom to steal his brother’s blessing from his old and blind father. After successfully seeing this task through, Esau then plans to commit murder. Rebekah has seen her wish come true, that her younger son would receive the God given blessing of the family. Isaac is ticked that he’s been lied to. Esau is overwhelmed with the thoughts that he has now lost twice. The first time in the kitchen with his brother when he gave away his inheritance, and the now the second as he has lost his father’s death bed blessing. Jacob then has to flee, hearing from his mom, the informant, that Esau is going to kill him. Talk about family baggage.

The only good thing here is that even in the midst of all this corruption and orneriness, God still uses this family to continue the Abrahamic blessing. God works through all of their problems and sinfulness to keep His Righteous plan on track. Would there or could there have been a better way? Maybe. Remember though that this was foretold in Genesis 25 when God told Rebekah that this would all take place…and her own hands helped the situation. Was it her helping God’s plan come true, or was it her love of the younger son that blinded her to compassion for both? Who knows? But what we do know is that Jacob ends up traveling through the land that God has promised his family as he escapes his brother’s murder bent anger, and Esau ends up marrying into Ishmael’s family. How ironic! What a story line.

Leadership point. Always watch for where God is headed and follow. We know that God is using this family to bless all nations…even though there is sin and deception and pride. God also wants to use us, even though we are sinful, deceptive and often full of self. Anger could always step in the way and raise its ugly head. It is up to us to keep a clear head and conscience. From the story we see that God does not stop His will from happening simply because He has to work with a messed up family. He works in spite of them. The same is true of us. I do, however, believe that God would much rather work with us when we have dealt with our own weaknesses, such as anger and selfishness.

When anger bites and we give in, we lose all potential for allowing peace to work in any situation. I’m not talking about being angry with something that is wrong. I’m talking about when anger causes us to hate, ruin, connive, gossip, ….etc. Is this what “love your neighbor as yourself” encourages? Obviously not. God wants us to steer clear of allowing anger to rule our soul. When it is there controlling us, God isn’t. God wants us to yield to Him so that we can become and stay a vehicle for blessing all around us, as Abraham was promised.

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