July 10: Blessing and Affirmation

Read Genesis 27:26-46

Affirmation is a powerful influence in the lives of people. Often, those who receive it have a real sense of value. And those who lack it feel inadequate.

John Trent, in his book The Blessing, underscores the importance of affirmation. He describes five elements common to Scriptural blessings and needed by every individual.  These include:

  1. Meaningful and appropriate touch.
  2. A spoken message.
  3. Attaching high value to the one being blessed.
  4. Picturing a special future for him or her.
  5. An active commitment to fulfill the blessing.

The blessing of Jacob and Esau offers us a picture of the importance of affirmation. You might remember their parents, Isaac and Rebekah, who’d played favorites with their kids. Esau, the first-born of the twins, was Isaac’s favorite. The two had much in common. Meanwhile, Rebekah was preferential to Jacob.

With his death imminent, Isaac makes clear his plans to bless Esau. (Let me interrupt the story with a quick reminder here. Though the blessing described here had different implications than the affirmation you extend to others in your family, don’t wait until late in life to dole it out. Be as genuine and as generous with it as you can be all along the way.) Did you notice how desperate Jacob was to receive the blessing? He was willing to lie and deceive . . . all in the hope of receiving it. Do you realize how desperately others in your family want to be affirmed by you? It would be a shame if they took ungodly steps in their attempt to receive it!

Allow me to make one more observation. Did you see how disappointed Esau was when he did not receive his father’s blessing? Let the words, “Bless me—me too, my father!” ring in your ears. His disappointment played a key role in his plan to retaliate and even marry a woman, of whom he knew his parents would not approve. Knowing the potential fall out, don’t you yearn to clearly express value to your family?

Maybe you have heard or even felt the disappointment expressed by people who have said, “I never really felt the approval of a family member!” May that not be said of those in your family.


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