Whenever we face a conflict or inter personal issue with a family member or a friend or a colleague or a boss we immediately come to the conclusion that, that person is too difficult a person to live or work or serve with. Our natural tendency is to think how they have caused us difficulty and pain. But the truth of the matter is we too could have been difficult and caused pain to them. Therefore the key thing to do in overcoming conflicts is to start examining ourselves instead of straightaway pointing fingers at others. Our thought for reflection this morning is “Our God Alone is the Perfect Judge Who Knows Who is Right and Who is Wrong.”
“This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.”
Throughout the conversation between Laban and Jacob we find nothing but accusations and counter accusations. Each thought that the other had not been fair to him. This blame game only aggravated the conflict and intensified the tension between Jacob and Laban.
1. There was mutual distrust between them.
Laban, considering himself as one who had been duped not only by his son in law Jacob but also by his own daughters, charged Jacob of deception, ingratitude and theft (Genesis 31:28-30). Further, since Laban did not trust Jacob, he was concerned that Jacob might ill-treat his daughters or take other wives beside them (Genesis 31: 49-50). And Jacob, portraying himself as person standing on high moral grounds, accused his father in law Laban, as a cruel task master who had exploited him for twenty years and taken advantage of his kindness (Genesis 31:41-42). Their respective speeches clearly reflect mutual distrust and disrespect for each other. Is there serious distrust between us and any of our family members or colleagues or our superiors?
2. There was mutual displeasure between them.
Laban’s speech was nothing but an expression of his displeasure with Jacob’s secretive departure from his home and his “supposed unfair behaviour” (Genesis 31:26-27). In the same way, Jacob’s speech was nothing but an out pouring of his disappointment with Laban’s “unfair treatment” and exploitation (Genesis 31:36-40). Thus both Laban and Jacob felt aggrieved with each other as they both considered that they had been treated badly. Are we terribly displeased with our family members, friends or colleagues for the way they had been treating us?
God is not going to hold us accountable for the behaviour of others or for the way they have been treating us. But we are accountable to God for our own actions and our right or wrong treatment of others. Just as Jacob and Laban finally decided to leave the matter to God, realizing that He was the true judge, shall we too leave our matters to God. Let’s pray:
“Dear Lord, you alone know how much I have been hurt by the actions and behaviours of others. You also know that there is much displeasure and distrust between me and them. Forgive me for accusing them for being on the wrong and pardon my failure to realize how much pain and hurt I could have caused them. As you are the perfect judge, I leave the matters into your hand. Help me to examine myself and see where I have gone wrong.
In Jesus’ name,... Amen!"