What on earth? Love that destroys? Is that even possible?
Let me give a little background on the title of this blog. As you start to read, keep in mind that parents – how they love – can influence their children for the good or for the bad. Many times we wonder why children act/react in certain ways. We don’t always understand “what went wrong”. Parents who journey with same-sex attracted children ask this often. And, instead of pointing fingers, we must ask the Lord to show us the port of entry – or where and when things started to take root. If we (parents) played a role in it, we must repent.
But now I am getting ahead of myself…
In the story of Isaac and Rebekah, we read how they loved their children. Genesis 25:28 says”…Isaac loved and was partial to Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” So the reality is, they did not love their children equally, thus the beginning of a sad story – a story of deceit, division and destruction. Rebekah’s partiality moved her to do bad things. Her partiality opened the door to the enemy. It wasn’t Jacob’s idea to start with, but his mom had some ideas in her mind. When Isaac asked Esau to hunt some meat for him so that he could bless him, Rebekah overheard and was quick to command Jacob to go the the flock, to find suitable kids (baby goats/sheep) (Gen 27:6-14). She was favorable towards Jacob and wanted Isaac to bless him and not her firstborn. Not nice!! Not only that, but she was the one to prepare the meal exactly the way her husband liked it. She knew to touch a man’s heart, one must go through his stomach! Laughable but true. On top of that, she helped dress Jacob to smell and feel like her older, hairy son, Esau (Gen 27:15,16). They became a “team” to deceive poor Isaac. And yes, Jacob could have stood up and said no, but he didn’t. So, we can’t just blame Rebekah. And because Isaac was already a bit blind, the food and Jacob’s “hairy” hands caused him (Isaac) to bless Jacob, instead of his firstborn, Esau. The story does not end here. Esau was very upset when he got home and found out the whole ordeal. It says in Gen 27:35 “Isaac said, Your brother came with crafty cunning and treacherous deceit and has taken your blessing.” The result: “And Esau hated Jacob… and said in his heart, I will kill my brother Jacob”. (Vs 41) Rebekah was informed of this anger and “sent for Jacob and said to him, see here, your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. So now, my son, do what I tell you; arise flee to my brother Laban.” (vs 43) In verse 45 it stated Rebekah was confident she would bring him back after a while, but the footnote in the Amplified Bible says this: “But Rebekah never saw her son Jacob again! He was well over 40 and probably 57 years old when he fled from Esau to Haran, and he stayed there at least 20 years.” Rebekah died before he returned.
Sad to think, a mom who “loved” her son so much, never saw him again! And it was due to her own actions! Her partiality and deceitful plans to make her husband bless their younger son instead of the rightful firstborn did not have a good outcome. There should have been repentance on her part. And because it did not take place, this partiality carried over to the next generation. Yes! Jacob, her beloved and favorite son, carried this partiality. He ended up loving his one son, Joseph – more than his other children!!! This was Rebekah’s grandson! “…Jacob, loving Joseph more than all his children… and he made him a distinctive long tunic with sleeves”. (Gen 37:3) This created hatred and division in this family too. “But when his brothers saw that their father loved [Joseph] more than all of his brothers, they hated him and could not say, Peace [in friendly greeting] to him or speak peaceably to him”. (Gen 37:4) We all know the outcome. Joseph was sold as a slave, taken to Egypt and his dad was told that he died. Lies and deceit. And all of this was perpetuated from the generation before, from Rebekah’s partiality!
Parents should never love the way Isaac and Rebekah did. It will always create division, hate, anger. It is actually really unfair when parents love like that. It is sinful.
In my own personal life journey and in ministry, I have come across Isaacs and Rebekahs. Perhaps not in this extreme – but it happens around us all the time. I will try to explain. In regards to parents who journey with children who experience same-sex attractions, I have come across some who side with their “straight” and other “perfect” children. They will criticize and bash their loved one who journeys with same-sex attractions. They have “family” meetings separate from their gay loved one, discussing plans and strategies to even keep them from seeing some family members. They view their gay loved one as one who is like a leper. This is judgment in the highest degree. It is partiality and it will create dissension among siblings. These are harsh words, I know, but they are true. I hope that if you are a parent you don’t love your children like this. Parents need to build unity in their families, not division.
Then we have the other extreme. Some parents won’t attend our support groups, because they don’t like it that we do not affirm a homosexual lifestyle or approve of same-sex marriage. They choose to leave our group to support their loved ones in their choices to live lifestyles contrary to God’s word. They think they will lose their loved ones if they go against their wrong beliefs, by telling them that to live a homosexual lifestyle is not God’s will and is a sin. So they will go with the flow and affirm them in their choices to practice unbiblical behaviors. I also know some parents who won’t speak a word when their heterosexual children come home with partners living together in sin. Lips are zipped. This ought not to be like this. The Bible is clear, “Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.” (Rom 1:32) Furthermore : “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) This type of “love” may not be partially, but it is a destructive love. You actually help your child to move away from God. I hope you don’t love your children like this.
The actions or the way these two type of parents “love” their children will have serious implications for generations come. The story of Isaac and Rebekah is proof. The way they loved opened doors for the enemy to come in. And it should have been stopped.
Here are some points to ponder and take what you want from it:
- To love your children partially is unfair, it will create rivalry, anger, and division among them. This is not a recipe for unity. Isaac and Rebekah’s partial love for their children carried over to their grandchildren, as we read about the enmity between Joseph and his brothers. Repentance is the key to stopping the trend. This can change a generation. If repentance is not done, destruction will carry on.
- When parents love their children partially, it is a sin. “But if you show servile regard (prejudice, favoritism) for people, you commit sin and are rebuked and convicted by the Law as violators and offenders.” (James 2:9)
- Assisting/approving choices contrary to God’s ways will lead to eternal separation from God. Rebekah did not see Jacob again because she created the problem in the first place. The spiritual implication is this: You may never see your child either – in heaven – if you approve or affirm ungodly lifestyles! By assisting/approving sinful behavior, you help them to become separated from God. Sin always separates us from God. “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2) Repentance will help to close this door too.
- Parents must love their children the way God loves us – equally. I am aware all children are different, we love them differently, but in the end we must be careful not to show partiality. God never showed partiality and parents should not either. “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach what is right, and that You show no partiality to anyone but teach the way of God honestly and in truth”. (Luke 20:21)
- Parents are called to be watchmen on the walls. They are to build their family up and not tear them down. They stand on the watch, night and day. They pray. They repent, especially for those things they do/did which hurt their children.
- Parents are not called to be their children’s best friends, but to be their guardians, to teach and train and to protect them. “And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then] 7 You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.8 And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as front lets (forehead bands) between your eyes.9 And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut 6:6-9)
- Fathers must take their place as priests and shepherds in their homes. That is their role and they need to take it seriously. If they don’t, this will open the door for the enemy to come in. God is going to keep them accountable how they loved and protected their wives and children.
- Wives must submit under the authority of their husband and honor them. (I am not talking about abusive relationships.)
- Parents must blow the trumpet in warning if their child goes astray. (read Ezekiel 3) When they see the “enemy come” (destructive behavior) they will tell their children the truth in love. If the child does not respond, they have done their duty. But they can NEVER affirm or approve any lifestyle contrary to God’s ways. God will require their children’s blood from their hands one day, that is if they did not warn their children.
- Parents must humble themselves and repent, even on behalf of their children. This is their true calling and God will heal and restore brokenness in their family. 14 If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
- Parents should ask the Lord to show them the port of entry – when the enemy came in to destroy their child’s life. This could have happened from the previous generation, or even while a child was in the womb. God is gracious. He will show; because He came that we may have life in abundance and to set us free (John 10:10). He points out bad roots, not to hurt, but to heal. If parents played a role, you will humble yourself and repent.
- Parents are not to win a popularity contest. Parents have a responsibility given by God – to train a child the way he should go and he may not always like it. “Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6)
- Parents who are true Jesus followers are called to make disciples, not assisting children in their sinful behaviors. No compromise to the truth from God’s word and they must stand firm all the time. “For me and my house we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)
- Parents need to be brave and take responsibility for mistakes while raising their children. They will acknowledge that they are not perfect. In fact, children don’t come with manuals when they are born, so mistakes are inevitable. Nothing that can’t be forgiven and/or restored though. They won’t point fingers but examine their own hearts first and foremost. They (fathers) will turn their hearts towards their children, and then their estranged children will return their hearts to their fathers. (Malachi 4:6) This way prodigals will come home.
Rebekah and Isaac loved their children partially and it affected their family for generations. The buck did not stop with them, but it spilled over into the lives of their grandchildren. The way they loved their two sons, Jacob and Esau, created destruction and disunity. Yet God was gracious, merciful and kind. Everything works out according to His will and plans, despite our mistakes. This is what I hope this blog will teach. We must see things for what they are and then remember that God can redeem anything. It requires tremendous humility and repentance. It takes rendering of hearts and bringing it to the Lord. The beautiful end of this family saga, which started in a previous generation is this: After many years of being separated from his family, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food. They were dying of hunger. When he eventually told them who he was, his brothers showed tremendous humility and repented for selling him as a slave. There was forgiveness and healing took place between them. It was a day of reconciliation and redemption. A whole family lived and did not die! Joseph recognized the fact that he was not to judge his brothers, but to show mercy and kindness. This is what he said: “Fear not; for am I in the place of God? [Vengeance is His, not mine.] 20 As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.21 Now therefore, do not be afraid. I will provide for and support you and your little ones. And he comforted them [imparting cheer, hope, strength] and spoke to their hearts [kindly]. (Gen 50:19-21). They all lived together in Egypt for another 200 years and it says in the end of Genesis 50, Joseph lived to see his grandchildren, the third generation, which started with Isaac and Rebekah. And then before Joseph died, he requested his children carry his bones back to be buried in the grounds his father Jacob bought. In Acts 7:15,16 it states that each of his brothers was also buried there. The family united, even in death! It came through humility and repentance.
What a story, I’d say! A story that started with partiality but ended in unity. Truly, with God nothing is impossible!
We need to see things for what they are. There is a kind of love that is destructive. Partiality. It is a sin and not real love.
We need to love like God. For this kind of love is true affection for God and man (and for our children). This love grows out of God’s love for us and in us. This kind of love builds up. It is not partial love. It’s the greatest – Jesus IN us.
I am no parent, but I am a spiritual parent, and I want to love like this. I know this will affect generations to come as well.