Inspired by We Make the Road by Walking by Brian D. McLaren
(You will find these stories in Genesis 32:22-33 and 11:50; 15-21.)
There has been rivalry and dissension as far back as we have recorded history. The Bible records the sibling rivalry between Cain and Abel. Cain eventually killed Abel. Then came Jacob and Esau and their feud. Jacob “lived his whole life by trickery.” Much later in life Jacob and Esau came back together and “Esau surprised everyone. He made it clear that he wasn’t holding a grudge. He desired no revenge, nor did he require any gifts or appeasement. He simply wanted to be reconciled.” The next generation includes one of my favorite Bible stories. Joseph, the little brother with the coat of many colors whose brothers resented him. You may have seen the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat inspired by this story. After his brothers sell him to Egyptian traders, Joseph eventually becomes favored in the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh. When his brothers come to Egypt for grain during a famine in their own country, in stead of revenge that some would consider justified, Joseph gave them mercy.
“As in Genesis, life today is full of rivalries and conflicts. We all experience wrongs, hurts, and injustices through the actions of others-and we all inflict wrongs, hurts, and injustices upon others. If we want to reflect the image of God, we will choose grace over hostility, reconciliation over revenge, and equality over rivalry.”
Unfortunately it is all too easy to think of people with whom I’ve had a rivalry, people that are hard to forgive. I see it among family members and you probably have a few of your own. If not, you are fortunate. I have learned that there can be peace when I get to the place of compassion. Jesus words come to mind, sometimes people just “do not know what they are doing.”
1. Does it prick your spirit when you think of ways you have been wronged? Could you do what Esau or Joseph did?
2. Respond to the idea that in revenge, we seek to imitate the person who has wronged us, and that in reconciliation, we imitate and reflect God.
3. Activate: This week, look for opportunities for others to “see the face of God” in your face, and seek the face of God in their faces, too-especially those you may see as rivals or outcasts.
I hold a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. I was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing my professional career as a Braille teacher. I am a Certified Professional Coach with Fowler International Academy. I married Sam after raising three children as a single mother. In 2007 I founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. My stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving, Insights and Encouragement on the Path of Motherhood is available for purchase on Amazon.