Monday, January 25, 2010

The aftermath of deception

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Genesis 33:8 (New Living Translation): “And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.”

Liars have to constantly work at covering up the lies of their past. Isaac named his second son Jacob because he came out of his mother’s womb grasping onto Esau’s heel. The Hebrew for Jacob sounds like “heel” or “deceiver.” From the time he was a boy, Jacob played the part of the deceiver. He stole his brother’s blessing and birthright by lying to his father. He wasn’t honest with Laban when he took his wives and clan away from the valley he had lived in for 20 years. Lying had become a part of Jacob’s daily life.

As Jacob and his family get closer to his brother Esau, he plots to bribe his brother because he fears for his life, because Esau had threatened his life when his birthright was stolen. God has blessed Jacob greatly while working for Laban, who, it must be noted, did not treat Jacob very fairly. After agreeing to let Jacob marry his younger daughter Rachel after seven years of labor, he tricked him into marrying gloomy-eyed Leah first. Then Laban made Jacob work another seven years for Rachel’s hand. Jacob felt firsthand what it felt like to be deceived.

The term “Liars’ Den” means that liars stick together or deserve each other, which certainly suited Laban and Jacob. A liar’s reputation takes awhile from which to recover. Businessmen or salespeople who lie and cheat their customers soon gain the tag of “untrustworthy” or “unreliable.” People like that tell themselves that “everyone does it; what’s the big deal?” God helps Jacob overcome his dishonesty by changing his name to Israel, so he doesn’t have to live down to his namesake.

That’s why God tells us it’s so important to be honest and trustworthy, in all our dealings. When we fail to be honest, we are to go to the other party, confess our sins and seek forgiveness. There may be painful consequences to our lying, such as broken trust in a relationship. Being honest is at the forefront of any healthy relationship. Many dating and marital relationships are strained by lies and deceit. Trust is hard to gain in such circumstances. Warning: If you’re dating someone and lying is a part of their MO, get out now: It’s not too late. Don’t marry a born liar: Married life will be hell for the deceived.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to be honest with all my relationships. Help me to have a heart like Jesus, and be truthful with everyone I come across. Amen

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