When Jealous Anger Invades Your Family

B.J. Funk

B.J. Funk

By B.J. Funk –

You’ve been there. If not, you will be one day. A family member crashes in on your long-enjoyed party of family happiness and brings pain that leaves your head spinning. You never saw it coming. After all, this is your family! Suddenly, without warning, you are caught in a web of hurt. Greed and false accusations rise above a loving commitment to each other. An ugly reality creeps into your life, and you are called on to display extreme forgiveness. But, how?

The nagging pain of this is that neither side can comprehend the other. An explosion of voices accompanies these differences, threatening to seriously harm what was once a loving relationship. Since you both claim to be followers of Christ, the reality is even harder to swallow.

Examine the differences in how adults and children forgive. Small children come in from playing outside and run to their teacher with loud cries of “He did this,” or “She did that.” You listen to each one, require them to hug or shake hands, and then send them on their way. So, they run to the playground holding hands and talking, laughing all the while, hoping they can have more time together before the bell rings. The rift is quickly forgotten because playing together is more important than being right.

Two stories in the Bible give us insights into family pain and forgiveness. The first story begins in Genesis 25, with twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Jacob tricked Esau into giving him his birthright and the blessing that was intended for Esau, the first born. Esau held a grudge against Jacob, and vowed to kill his brother. The brothers didn’t see each other for twenty years. At that time, Jacob learned that Esau was coming toward his brother with four hundred men. Frantic with fear, and realizing he was about to meet the brother from whom he stole his most precious possessions, Jacob quieted himself before the Lord. Still, he had no idea what would happen when Esau and his men came forward.

With his wives and families following, Jacob went ahead to greet Esau. When he saw Esau, Jacob bowed down to the ground seven times, the sign of respect given to a king. Though Esau was not a king, Jacob tried doing everything right, hoping to dispel any thoughts of revenge. Suddenly, Esau started running toward his brother, greeting Jacob with a big hug. Time away allowed bitter wounds to heal. Blessings and birthrights took a back seat as the brothers realized how wonderful it was to be together again. They embraced, kissed and cried. No words were needed. They wanted plenty of time together before their death bell rang. Being family was more important than being right.

Years passed, and Jacob became the father of twelve sons. Continuing the family pattern of unfortunate favoritism and deceit, Jacob’s sons sold their younger brother, Joseph, to a caravan of Ishmaelites heading toward Egypt. After having been deserted by his family, Joseph was now exposed to sexual temptation and punished for doing the right thing. He endured a long imprisonment in Egypt; however, God was with him. Because of his wisdom, Joseph gained power in Egypt. He was trusted by pharaoh and appointed as governor, the one who sold grain. Jacob’s land was experiencing famine, so he sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain.

Thirteen years had passed since Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. After several discussions, he could hide his joy no longer. He made himself known to his brothers, crying loudly and kissing them. Joseph told his brothers not to be hard on themselves for what they did to him, because it was not the brothers, but instead, God, who sent Joseph to Egypt. Down in the darkness of the musty dungeon, God prepared Joseph to be a leader. God showed Joseph the plan, and Joseph was able to release his anger toward his brothers and forgive them. They had been wrong, but Joseph wanted to be with his family before his death bell rang. Joseph realized that being family was more important than being right.

Are you holding to family pain that needs to be set free? Is family heartache worth the cost of being right? When the bell tolls for you, and there is no more family time left, will you long for that which can be no more? Being family is more important than being right.

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  1. John Jesensky

    When Jealous Anger Invades Your Family

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