When I was younger, I used to practically hero-worship my brother. He was the best at everything he did. He was cooler than me, smarter, faster and stronger.
I really built my brother in to something he wasn’t. I used to think “if only I was at good as him at this game” or “if only I could fix a computer like he does.” It was interesting stuff.
As I grew up, my very exsistence began to annoy my brother. It was really tough, all I wanted was for him to treat me as an equal. Equalling my brother at something, I thought, would make me complete. It would mean I had achived everything I needed to.
It got harder for me to hang around my brother, I wanted to watch him play computer games, and he’d tell me to get lost. It would sometimes make me cry. It got to the point where we both began to rub each other up the wrong way. My affection and adoration turned to resentment and anger. I couldn’t speak to him, see him or listen to him without wanting to lose my temper.
Fortunately before this broke our relationship I moved house with my parents, my brother (and sister) stayed resident and I escaped from the shadow I’d been unknowingly living in.
I didn’t see him again for about 3 weeks. Next time I did see him it was when I was moving from my parents into my student halls, it was brief, civil, we aknowledged each other, but didn’t really speak.
Over the next 4 months I studied at university, spent time with a group of people who didn’t know my family. Didn’t compare me to my siblings, or call me “Goudie”. “Goudie” was my brother’s nickname at school, and I was mini-Goudie to everybody who knew him, or my sister. So to be free of that whole title and become “Andy” again for the first time in a long time, was new.
I really began becoming my own person, developing my own identity free from my history, from this “shadow”.
Life went on, Christmas, the whole family back together and a chance to size myself up against my brother.
After the years I was now taller, stronger, faster. I found myself confused, in these aspects I was “better” than my brother, surely that should have left me feeling good!?
It left me empty. I wasn’t better then him, I was different. I wasn’t worse then him, I wasn’t trying to be him anymore. I was me, me was myself.
The next 8 months I had little contact with my brother, I worked while at university, and while living with my parents over the summer. I started this blog.
This journey I’ve been on, from finishing highschool, moving to Tongue, starting at University, pausing, re-starting, finishing again for the summer, has been a long one, a tough one, and a developing one.
Now, as self-involved as the last 500 words have been, how does that tie in to the passage?
This passage is where Jacob returns home, to meet the new head of his family – his brother. Esau, the brother he cheated of inheritance, blessings and power.
Jacob has just wrestled God, and formed a new identity. No longer is he “Jacob” the trickster, he is now Israel, “Struggles”. No longer does Jacob trick and steal, now he fights for his rewards.
Jacob, like myself, changed over a period of time, then he returned home, to face his brother. For me it was simple, my identity was no longer tied to my brother, it was me. For Jacob, he has to face his past, his mistakes, and he knows he could be punished for it.
The passage is titled “Jacob Shows his Bravery” and he does. He faces what he once ran from, he seperates his forces, so that if one is destroyed, the other might live. He walks forwards with his family, fearful for their safty and his own.
The worry and stress he had felt where for naught. His brother is pleased to see him! The resentment has passed, and Esau is just glad to see his brother. They’re so happy to be reunited, they hug and start crying! (oh so manly).
Jacob is respectful to his brother rather than fearful, and in return Esau is loving to Jacob rather than hateful. Truely a miracle when two brothers can reconcile so easily (after 21 years of estrangement).
When I first started this blog, I wasn’t sure where it was going. I started along another path completely, which just felt wrong, and I ended up talking about brothers. Christians often talk about other Christians as their “Brothers and Sisters” so when it comes to two brothers I find an easy application.
Here we need to think about our relationships between our families, biological and spiritual. Although I would say that what comes applies to all relationship not just family ones.
Forgive when you have been wronged. Forget that you’ve been hurt, and the hurt is no longer there. (When you forget you have a headache isn’t it just so annoying when somebody says “How’s your headache?” and all the pain comes flooding back?) Well here, forgive, so there is no more pain to come, then forget about the pain that was, and it can’t come back.
When somebody really irks you, drives you round the bend, let it go. Look at them objectively, why do their actions upset you? Should they? If so, how do you resolve the situation? Don’t let there be bad blood in the family. If somebody upsets you, don’t go abused in silence. Speak to them politely, privetly and peacefully.
Remember the golden rule – that one which is really hard to keep. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
In the new testament Jesus teaches his followers how to pray.
Part of that is
“12 Forgive us for our sins,
just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us. “
If we can’t forgive each other, how can we expect and hope that God will forgive us?
Life isn’t a mystery. Life is relationships, life is love. In the end, life is about loving God, and Him loving you.