Updated: Aug 6, 2022
Dysfunctional families have existed for decades. These families experience repetitive conflicts, abuse, deprivation, favoritism, and secrets that seem non-resolvable.
Dysfunctional behaviors stimulate from deplored environments which affects an individual’s mental, physical, and/or emotional behaviors. The consistency of deployable patterns transpires from generations to generations.
Jacob and his brother Esau were specifically chosen by God from their mothers womb. The war between the twins started in the womb. After birth, the father favored Esau and the mother Jacob. The war continued.
The animosity between Jacob and Esau escalated to a murderess level, Esau wanted to kill Jacob because he stole his birthrights, which it was ordained by God for Jacob to received the birthright, although he was the younger of the twins, (Genesis 25:23).
Jacobs parents made a way for Him to escape. They sent him away, not only to escape from his brother, but to find a wife.
Jacob walked into the hands of another dysfunctional family, his uncle, and future father-in-law, Laban.
He lied to and manipulated Jacob for twenty years, which caused conflicts, deprivation, favoritism, and secrets within the family.
In the midst of this dysfunctional situation, God blessed Jacob, but Laban’s sons believed Jacob took their fathers wealth and honor, overlooking the fact that he worked to obtain the wealth.
“…Jealousy is as severe and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, [A most vehement flame] the very flame of the Lord!”
(Song of Solomon 8:6).
God seen their anger and jealousy toward Jacob and relieved him to return to his homeland. Laban tried to convince him to stay, but Jacob took his family, wives and children, and left without Laban’s knowledge.
Sometimes you have to secretly remove yourself from dysfunctional family members to avoid continuous abnormal behavior.
When Laban realized Jacob left, he took men to find him. When he found Jacob he said, “What do you mean by deceiving me and leaving without my knowledge, and carrying off my daughters as if [they were] captives of the sword? Why did you run away secretly and deceive me and not tell me, so that [otherwise] I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with [music on the] tambourine and lyre? And why did you not allow me to kiss my grandchildren and my daughters [goodbye]? Now you have done a foolish thing [in behaving like this]. It is in my power to harm you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak to Jacob, either good or bad.’ Now [I suppose] you felt you must go because you were homesick for your father’s house and family; but why did you steal my [household] gods?”
A dysfunctional person don’t see their shortcomings. They manipulate and twist words, blaming their negative behavior on their enemies.
Jacob did not steal his gods, Rachel, his daughter stole them.
Did Laban go after Jacob because he took his daughters and grandchildren without him saying goodbye or because he was afraid of loosing his gods? Hmm!
“In the region where Laban lived, a son-in-law who possessed the family gods could appear before a judge and claim the estate of his father-in-law.” Laban could have lost everything, but Jacob didn’t want his gods, he served the almighty powerful true God. Laban knew he was blessed because of Jacob’s God.
In the midst of his wrong, and unwillingness to announce his shortcomings, Laban requested Jacob agree to establish a covenant between them.
The humiliation, mistreatment and manipulation he did to Jacob, he took credit that all Jacob inherited, daughters, grandchildren, and flocks were his and requested that he don’t humiliate or hurt his daughters. The pain that he inflicted on Jacob, he feared his daughters would experience.
They built a pillar which was custom to do in those days, as a legal agreement between them. Laban spoke, “…May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent from one another,”
He wanted assurance that they would never harm one another…. the pillar would act as a legal binding and reminder.
There were many dysfunctional behaviors that existed in these families, incest, polygamy, rivalry, inherited issues, and faith. Jacob was not perfect, but he was an example that God can keep you sound minded in the midst of a dysfunctional family.