Scripture: Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away— until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Genesis 27:43-45a ESV
Observation: As if stealing his brother’s birthright was not enough, Jacob, the “supplanter,” follows his mother’s advice and tricks his aged and nearly blind father into offering him a final blessing intended for Esau (27:1-29). Not surprisingly, Esau is furious when he learns of Jacob’s scheme and voices murderous threats (27:41). When reported to Rebekah, she quickly advises her favored son to make haste and flee to safety with her brother, Laban, in Haran, hoping that one day Jacob would be restored to her when Esau’s anger subsided (above verses).
Takeaway: When we show favoritism within the family or other social groups, nothing good comes of it. And when we scheme to promote favorites over others, our machinations often backfire. For Rebekah, while Jacob would succeed in gaining his father’s blessing (even more desired than the birthright), she likely would lose her treasured son’s company for the remainder of her life. (Given the Bible does not mention whether they were reunited, it likely never happened.)
So what’s the balance? It is not an issue of fairness. What one person perceives as fair, another may deem as unfair. We serve and give according to the needs of others. Thus, the goal is to seek the welfare of all of our family and community according to God’s will, beginning with prayer and then acting per the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Then, if others misinterpret our words or actions as favoritism, the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth in due time.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that we are one in Christ, that there are no favorites in your adopted family. Would you please help us resist showing favoritism to those we most find attractive to our affinities and instead seek the welfare of all you bring across our paths according to your will? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling