A Smooth Killer Called Unforgiveness

Genesis 49:1-7

1.​Then Jacob called together all his sons and said, “Gather around me, and I will tell you what will happen to each of you in the days to come.

2. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

3. Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:4. You are destructive like water and will not excel, for you got on your father’s bed, then you defiled it–he got on my couch! 

5. Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

6. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

7. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

Whenever I read the above scripture, I quickly see what the son’s of Jacob did. From my physical point of view, they deserve the proclamation from their Father’s  mouth that didn’t end with them but went into the future and had an effect on the generations yet unborn. But two days ago, the Holy spirit pointed out something to me nd I’d love to share it with you all. Let’s take a look at the life of Jacob who later became Israel. He was a swindler, who started fighting right from the womb of his mother (Rebecca). When he finally came out second after Esau his brother, he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome and so he wanted the first position by all possible means.

Firstly, he was a good cook and with it he began his quest. In Genesis 25:29-34 We saw how his brother Esau returned from hunting tired,  exhausted ,  hungry and probably had no spoil from his hunt and simply asked his brother “Let me have some porridge for I’m really hungry and I might die if I don’t have something to eat at this very moment”.  Well as a brother, one would think Jacob would be sympathetic with his only brother because he doesn’t have any other, and just give him the food but his response was “Hey bro, if you want some of this porridge to satisfy your hunger, you have to sell me your birth right as the first child in exchange for the food now” Esau couldn’t hesitate to say Yes because he was so hungry. Jacob didn’t end the trade with his brother just saying yes to a statement. He made him swear for a confirmation between the heavens and the earth and not only that,  God is now aware of the transaction.  The Second move is what I tag  #THEBIGWIN! Every cheat got to have a tutor for Jacob, his mother was his tutor….like he was home schooled in the cheating league. Jacob called his firstborn son Esau and said “I am old and I don’t know when I’ll die, pls take your bow and your arrows and hunt me an animal, thereafter prepare me my favourite meal that I may and bless you”. 

Recording every statement was the special adviser to Jacob on Cheating affairs; Rebecca. She quickly called Jacob and replayed all she has downloaded from her husband secretly and asked her son Jacob to get her a goat so she could prepare her husband’s favourite meal, while Jacob will take the meal to the father being clothed with Esaus raiment mixed with the hairs of the goat for a camouflage because Esau is hairy. You can see how well planned it is from the start. The rest of the story of how he succeeded and later fled to Laban in Haran are recorded in Genesis 27. After having spent twenty years in Laban’s home, Jacob is commanded by God to return to the land of his ancestors, the land of Canaan. In order to do so, Jacob have to pass through Edom, the territory of his brother Esau. The prospect of meeting Esau after their twenty years of estrangement is indeed daunting. How will Jacob face Esau after having usurped the latter’s inheritance and blessing? Will Esau carry out his threat to kill Jacob? Will the bitterness remain, or has it subsided?  Will the wound opened by Jacob still be as fresh as the day on which it was inflicted? 

The two men prepared for their meeting like warriors about to enter into  battle. Jacob sent men to spy on Esau, as well as gifts meant to appease him. Esau surrounds himself with a 400-man army. Each is tense and apprehensive at the prospect of seeing his brother again. At last, the moment of truth arrives. Esau makes the first overture: He embraced his brother, fell on his neck and kissed him. The tension has being broken. Here’s a man who was deprived of being the patriarch of an entire nation reconciling with his brother who wronged him.He didn’t curse him let alone kill him but he forgave him. Now let’s return to thesame man who was forgiven and given a second chance to live, had twelve son’s and a beautiful daughter display his gratitude. 

Reuben the first son of Jacob slept with his concubine Bilhah. He might have apologized to his father for the wrong done. This is the same Reuben that gave a different idea for Joseph’s life to be spared. The same Reuben who cried when his brother’s told him Joseph was dead. He might be fragile or he might not……. Jacob’s wrath was kindled against Reuben from that very day he defiled his bed. He waited after many years, gathered all the son’s and  began telling them their future. When it got to Reuben, it was pay day, it was his day of recompense. He spilled it out as it was… his cheating mentality first came into play.. he showered praises on his firstborn son Reuben and then he let the cat out of the bag “You will not excel, because you slept with my concubine”. That curse went into the future and was reducing the generation of Reuben until Moses saw it and made another decrea in “Deuteronomy 33:6 Let Reuben live and not die and let not his men be few”. The curse also took his birth right from him and given unto his nephew Joseph’s son’s 1 Chronicles 5:1. 

Someone reading this may say the sin he committed was a great sin in the sight of God, in fact God warned against it in “Leviticus 18:8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife thou shall not uncover: it is thy fathers nakedness”…. it is also written in “Leviticus 19:11 You shall not lie, you shall not steal, you shall not deceive one another”. What I’m I driving at? If Jacob had forgiven Reuben he wouldn’t have carried the hurt done to him till the day he pronounced a curse on him. Same thing goes for Simeon and Levi who out of anger killed all the young men in a certain land of Canaan,  Hamor and Shechem his son who raped Dinah the daughter of Jacob their only sister….  If Israel forgave them he wouldn’t have lashed on them with a curse. But No, he would rather harbour the pain in his heart and unleash it on a day they least expected it.

To err is human, to forgive, divine. When Alexander pope wrote those immortal words, he stated a truth that still resonates in our hearts. Forgiving others seems to be the hardest thing some of us ever have to do. Why? At times, it is difficult to face the wrongs that has being done to us. Like Jacob, we ignore the wrong and act like it never existed. In other cases, we are well aware of the hurts we’ve experienced,  and we believe the offender should suffer some consequences for what he or she did. If we forgive, it seems we’re letting the culprit off too easily. We don’t want to encourage repeated offenses. Like Jacob, you might carry the memory of offenses that date all the way back to your childhood years. Your parents may have rejected you, or abused you. Perhaps your mother preferred your sister because she was more attractive and you were not. Or your dad made it an habit to hit you first and ask questions later. You might be in a marriage that requires you to forgive almost daily, even though all feelings of love and warmth has disappeared. 

Not forgetting the injustice you may have experienced in the workplace simply because you are a woman or because you don’t want to cut corners like others do. Or you don’t want to add that extra digit that will inflate the actual price of a commodity so you can have your share. Being bullied by a set of gang in school as a child or as an adult. Being treated like a stranger by your elder brother and sister and swearing in your heart how you will treat their own kids. Helping someone out of compassion and now you need the help in return and the person treats you like shit. We could go on and on pointing out all the various kinds of hurts we’ve received from people, most especially people so dear to our hearts, people we never thought could hurt a fly, ended up with a knife in our heart and we wondered where or when we went wrong? Well to clear your conscience,  nothing is wrong with you and you didn’t go wrong any where as well. It is the lens through which people view you and it transmits negative to them and their reaction towards you turns out to be negative. And you can only correct that lens when you don’t harbour unforgiveness with you because if you do then thats when and where you went wrong. A craving for revenge is very normal. However, it is a negative emotion that doesn’t hurt the other person unless we actually carry it out. Meanwhile it can control and corrupt us. While we spend time fantasizing on ways to strike back, we remain in emotional turmoil, frustrated and unhappy. It’s a healthy and necessary step to give up the need for retaliation. 

Like Esau we can reconcile with the one who hurt us. It doesn’t always happen, but it is one of the ways for forgiveness. Jesus instructed us in Matthew 18:15-17. Also 2 Corinthians 5:19 tells us how God reconciled the world to himself….. The truth be told,  if we won’t forgive, bitterness will become firmly entrenched in our characters. It make us unable to trust,  cynical, unable to maintain close relationships. Just as in jesus’ parable of the unforgiven servant, who was sent into outer darkness to be tortured, our own bitterness  (unforgiveness) will torture us for a lifetime. On the other hand, Forgiveness will launch us into peace, freedom, and unhindered in our enjoyment of God and people. The funny thing is that it is a choice…. as the writer of this article, I’ll advice you to shun Unforgiveness and embrace forgiveness.  Forgive today, tomorrow  and in advance …. let go… and let God…..

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