The story of Jacob and Esau brings to light the pain that deception can create in a family. Being lied to by a stranger, acquaintance, or even friend, has a totally different impact than being lied to by your own flesh and blood. While the emotions of betrayal, hurt, and frustration might be similar, there is a certain rawness to having been deceived by those you love.
Esau certainly experienced this raw pain. The text says more than once that he burst out with a loud cry, and wept. He was hurt. His own brother, out of selfish ambition, had intentionally tricked his father into giving him a blessing that he did not deserve. Yet, the story gets even more frustrating for Esau when his father tells him that he will now be a servant to his brother. I can’t imagine the feelings Esau must have felt in this moment. The inheritance his father had promised him, was essentially stolen from him by the hands of his own brother, Jacob, whom now he was ordered to be a serve.
This story might seem like it’s outlandish in our modern context, but is it really? I hear all too often about folks who file lawsuits against their own family members in battles to claim an inheritance that is “rightfully” theirs. The reality is the deception described in the account in Genesis 27 is still very representative of the pain we inflict upon our family members today. Families can be turned upside down by even just one relative playing up some big lie. Whether it is boasting about a life they really aren’t living, stealing something that isn’t theirs, or being deceitful about a situation, the bottom line is lies kill. They can kill connection, kill relationships, and kill families.
We have hope however; that even the deepest of wounds can be healed through the power of Jesus Christ.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
We all mess up sometimes. It’s a part of who we are. However, how you respond to your “mess up” will define how your relationship with your family moves forward. Whether you have been on the giving or receiving end of deceit in your family, prioritize reconciliation. Seek forgiveness to those you have wronged, and forgive those who have hurt you. By God’s grace wounds can be healed.