Read Genesis 27:41-46
41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.”
42 But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. 43 So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother cools off. 45 When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick and tired of these local Hittite women! I would rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.” (NLT)
Whenever you get concerned about your own family or other families you know, passages like this might be useful. This is but one snapshot of a dysfunctional family in the Bible. There are others. Even Jesus’ own family had its problems with him.
The Bible, thankfully, doesn’t present its characters as flawless heroes. The family described in this passage is part of God’s chosen people. Evidence that he doesn’t choose us because of our relational skills or ability to get on with others. The Bible simply describes fallible human beings who are thrust into families they did not choose and who bear the inevitable ups and downs of family life.
This is encouraging at those times when our own families may be in disarray, and when other families seem to be sailing along without a care in the world. Every family has its issues. Some are to do with money, some to do with health, some to do with parenting or marriage, some to do with ongoing conflict.
It is not as if we complacently accept this with a shrug of the shoulders. Rather, we do what we can with God’s help to make our families the best they can be. But this side of heaven they will always be fragile. The good bit being that this fragility doesn’t mean missing out on the strong grace of a God who only ever deals with imperfect individuals.