Posts Tagged ‘Laban’

mistakesIt’s not really a question, though, is it? It is an accusation. The person asking has already made a judgment about the event or act and it’s a matter of drawing attention to it. Even God used this phrase against Adam and Eve? Instead of “What?” I think “Look” would be a better addition: “Look what you have done.” Wake up!

Genesis 31:25-26a
Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? . . . “

Of course, in Laban’s world, everything was about him. His accusation was based on his perceived loss, not of loved ones (despite his saying so), but of his household gods and the good fortune he had had while Jacob was working for him. Laban knew that God was with Jacob and in those twenty years, he had benefited from it. With Jacob’s departure, he feared his losses. And so the phrase gets longer: Look what you have done to me?

When God said, “what have you done?” he was bringing awareness. He alone can do this. When people say it to each other, take care. It’s generally self-motivated.

Perhaps there’s a small hope in the speaker’s mind, that circumstances are not what they seem, a small hope that the beloved one did not really cheat on his/her spouse or get caught with drugs or drunk while driving. Maybe it’s a prayer: please God don’t let it be true.

But, in the end, the answer is already out there. It’s a rhetorical question really. And for that reason, don’t bother. It’s all for effect!

Here’s the really sad part. I hear this question all the time. At least, in my mind. It’s the accuser of course, not God at all. But that’s what I hear when I err. This is a question I must cast aside today. It has no healing and no awareness for me.

Instead, I choose to hear, “What will you do next?”

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Photo by Ed Rybczynski

Photo by Ed Rybczynski

Leaving is not easy. Starting over is never easy either. But sometimes, that’s all we can do. Circumstances and time and emotions come to a head, and it’s clear, something must change. At this time of year, we mockingly call them resolutions (and I say mocking, because we laugh at our poor resolve over the years). But true change is no joke. True beginnings are powerful and even painful.

Genesis 31:3; 17-18
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” . . . Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels,and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram,to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

Meaningful change is rarely made overnight with a glass of champagne in one hand and horn in the other. It’s rarely a wish list; it’s a must list. That kind of break with the past comes after a build up, a collection of situations, a norm that is no longer acceptable.

Often it takes an epiphany or insight, a new view of an old way, that becomes the impetus for change or builds a desire or appetite for metamorphosis. We see with new eyes. We see reality. We see truth. And it is longer acceptable.

In Jacob’s world, it took more than fourteen years to realize that something had to change. He had achieved the short-term goal of acquiring wives and even children, but he was still dependent on Laban. It was time to grow up.

I remember making a very small discovery, probably in my late twenties, that there was no one who would be picking up after me. If I chose to leave dirty dishes, they would be there the next day. If I put my clothes on the floor, they would remain. If I forgot to water the plants, they would die. If I wanted my immediate environment to be pleasant and acceptable, I would have to do it.

But sometimes, the changes are more challenging, like women who have entered abusive relationships or tied themselves to addictive personalities or other enslavements (drugs, alcohol, food, sex, television, and other mind-numbing substitutions for living). To see these situations in their true form is beyond difficult and may require divine intervention.

For myself, I pray for open eyes this day, to see clearly. I pray for God’s revelation and direction. I pray for loved ones whose eyes are still closed. I pray for my role in their lives. I pray for grace and mercy and courage. I ask for epiphanies to abound.

Today. Not resolutions but meaningful change.

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