In what might be the longest chapter of Genesis, Chapter 31 offers a candid look at relationships. I believe the trending word for it now is “toxic relationships.” If anyone was ever in a toxic relationship, it was Jacob and Laban. Jacob was in quite a pickle. For one, he was related to Laban by marriage and by blood, so no matter what, Laban and Jacob were family. Also, though, Jacob had been putting up with manipulation and guilt trips for YEARS! When does he get to say, “Enough is enough!”? For Jacob, the answer is 20 years. He put up with Laban for 20 years before drawing his boundaries and running for the hills, but he did it also and only after God blessed the plan. He even told his wives in the coolest, most respectful way: he’s like, hey, I had this dream, and I’ve got a lot of stuff, so how about you go meet my side of the family?
I don’t blame Jacob one iota for sneaking off in the middle of the night. The trust was gone there. Laban had broken his promises time and time again. It took him three days to notice Jacob was gone, but being the prideful man he was, when he realized everyone had left, he chased them down. He attempted to send Jacob on one more guilt trip, but Jacob had put up with enough. He gives a rousing monologue in verses 38 to 42. I mean, I wanted to stand up and cheer, didn’t you??? “You tell him, Jacob!!!” I was shouting in my mind.
The chapter ends with a peaceful pact to stay away from one another. Laban seems to listen. But I still don’t trust the dude, do you?
Writing prompt: boundaries
It’s necessary to draw boundaries in toxic relationships, but it sometimes seems impossible to do – for a million different reasons. Are you in a tough relationship like this? Write out an approach (or more than one) you could take to resolve the issue and follow-up with the response you believe you will get. And, of course, pray about this relationship and ask God to direct you in coming to a peaceful resolution.