“He took away what was rightly mine. I did him no harm; nothing to have deserved this. I always treated him as family and I never would have thought he could and would do this. The heart of man bible says is wicked. I always went out to work so there was food in the house. I played a huge part in ensuring we never starved. I surely deserved to be treated better.”
This sounds like what was going through Esau’s mind after realising his brother stole his blessing from their dad. It’s sad when a stranger intentionally hurts us but it’s even worse when family or a close friend does. Esau sounded like the breadwinner of the family – the one who went out to get meat. Giving out his birthright for a bowl of porridge, he never envisaged that his only brother would go as far as tricking their aged dad to steal his blessing.
“Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!”
Genesis 27:33 NLT
I can’t even imagine the pain that was going through Esau’s heart. “You took my birthright when you knew I was vulnerable and now you have taken my blessing”. Parental blessing in those days was highly valued. It still is in certain parts of the world. This was a big deal for Esau.
It was appropriate for Esau to be angry. Anger is an expressed emotion which is not a sin. Jesus Christ was angry when He saw that there was buying and selling happening in the temple. Esau was justified to be angry. However he was not justified to sin while angry. He was not justified to stay angry.
There is a reason why the bible says we should not allow the sun go down on our anger. The more we stay angry, the more we are opening doors for the devil to attack our minds and magnify the situation and reasons why forgiveness should be taken off the table.
Esau held a grudge against his brother and then decided he was going to kill Jacob.
Do you have a problem forgiving people? It could be that the reason for your anger is justifiable. However there is no justifiable reason not to forgive. I know that sounds harsh. You might say well you don’t know what they did to me. Yes I agree. I might not know and will never know. I am by no means minimising your pain but in the book of life, unforgiveness has no place there.
“I will kill my brother Jacob”. From the point Esau was hurt, his purpose for living changed to vengeance. This became what he lived for. Can you relate? Are you living for vengeance? Well no you might say. But are you waiting to hear your offender shamed, ridiculed and hurt. Do you say “good for him” when you hear your ex is in pain? I understand by law certain people have to face consequences for their actions. However as that person is serving a sentence for murdering someone you loved or for molesting an innocent victim, do you throw a celebration party for that? If yes, have you ever thought for a minute what God’s reaction is towards your reaction? This is what God says.
Sometimes we use vengeance as a tool for consoling ourselves. We get so wrapped up in self pity to the point where we become unproductive and toxic to ourselves and to those around us. We blame our inability to love on the fact that we have been hurt and we think this is a good enough reason for us to get a pass to heaven. “Besides God I am sure you have no idea what it means to be left alone with 4 kids by a man who claimed he loved you”. Whenever we get a tug in our heart to forgive, we present God with our “reasons not to forgive list” and we go back to our corner sat with our pity party.
High blood pressure, depression, anxiety, stress, stroke and even some forms of cancer are medical issues that can arise as we remain in our pity party corner.
The good thing about this story is that Esau and Jacob later met and they made peace. Time they say heals all wounds. As they stayed away from each other for years, they both began to see things from different perspectives. Esau would have woken up one night and decided life was worth living. There was no need in spending time and resources in planning on how to execute his brother’s life. What has happened can’t be undone but we can work on how to move on.
Unforgiveness is hard. But it is doable. There is a reason God tells us to pray for those who hurt us. This is something that truly works. A one off prayer won’t do. We might struggle to do it the first time but the more we do it, the more our hearts get softened towards our offender. We begin to see how broken and lost they were and possibly still are. This generates empathy and love that helps us forgive. Forgiveness is a journey remember. It’s not a one off incidence.
Life is a precious gift. Let’s not spend our time on earth wishing others evil or plotting their downfall. God does the best revenge after all.