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Addressing family relationships

Last week I talked about going to the family mechanic. Making things work in a marriage or in a family is all about understanding how relationships work and what to do to restore right relationships. God hates it when people don't get along. He hates divorce because of the hurt that it causes to people who He loves so much on both sides. He hates broken relationships so much that He says that even before we pray or bring our gift to Him, we ought to do our part to mend any broken relationships that we know of. (Matthew 5:23, 24). There are a lot of hurting people and hurting families in our society. There are brothers and sisters who have not spoken to each other in years. There are children and parents who don't talk to each other anymore. There are extreme tensions between husbands and wives, they may still be married but really it is not a marriage, they just happen to live in the same house. The relationship is broken. In many homes and even churches, there is an emptiness, an ache, an unhealed wound that is destructive to health and strength.

The devil is out to destroy families because it is the very fabric of society. It is also an example of heavenly principles with God as our Father and we His children, or Christ as our Husband and we as His bride, or Jesus as our Elder Brother and we siblings one to another. It's all about family. If Satan can cause division and feuding within our families, he successfully destroys the earthly example of godly principles and relationships.

The first fight was between husband and wife, Adam and Eve. Adam went from saying, "Wow, wow, wow! She is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!" To saying to God, "It's the woman you gave me, she's a problem." The first death on planet earth was a family murder between brothers. After the flood, the first relational problem we see is between father and son where Noah curses his own son. Don't think your family will be immune from the attacks. We see tension all through the Bible within family units. How do we deal with it?

In Genesis we have Isaac's two sons, Jacob and Esau locked in a bitter feud. They are twin brothers who haven't talked to each other in twenty years. Their relationship is broken. Their feud started with deception. Jacob stole what belonged to his brother, Esau. Esau is very angry, but their mother rescues Jacob from Esau's wrath by sending him away to live with his uncle. What was thought to be a short visit came to be over twenty years. Relationships don't fix themselves.

Did Esau have a right to be angry? Absolutely. Did Jacob need to run? You bet. They had a legitimate reason to feud. Both brothers had their own agenda and other people meddled in the deal, which only made it worse. But, by God's grace, there is reconciliation.

In Genesis 32 God instructs Jacob to return to his native land. God wants him to return to the land of promise. However, he wasn't going to get there without going through Esau. The road back to the promised land of blessing is on the highway of mended relationships. It was time to heal the wound with his brother. Next time we will talk about ways to heal relationships. The first one is - someone has to initiate contact.