Gen 31:38-42 – “[Jacob said to Laban,] 'I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times. If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.'”
- When we've been hurt deeply over time, the first step is to confront the one who offended us. Tell the person WHY we're angry, HOW their actions hurt you, WHEN it happened. Being specific about the pain forces us to examine our hearts and gives the offender concrete examples of their fault.
- Did Jacob agree that the women, children and flocks belonged to Laban? Absolutely not. However, Jacob had argued and bargained with his father-in-law enough to know that he wasn't going to change his mind with more words. At some point we must agree to disagree.
- These men couldn't even agree on which language to use in naming the altar! Laban used Aramaic and Jacob used Hebrew to name it, “witness heap.” However, Jacob called on his relatives as witnesses (no doubt his wives – Laban‟s daughters) to both support and hold accountable.
- The men recognized that God was watching and aware of the end of this long struggle between them. I believe it must have given them power, confidence and freedom to move forward, knowing the God of Creation witnessed the severing of the relationship.
- Before the final good-bye, its helpful to agree on the terms of future relationship – when possible. Agree to boundaries, and agree to cause no more intentional pain. We often believe the lie that success in relationship is defined only by reconciliation. Not so. Sometimes God's greatest work happens in the heart of one who can walk away in peace – and let go.