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The Word for Today

by Bob and Debby Gass

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‘Isaac…loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.’ Genesis 25:28 NIV

The verdict is in: How your children turn out says more about your parenting skills than about their genes! The story of Esau and Jacob is a case study in favouritism, sibling rivalry, conditional acceptance and parental failure (Genesis 25-27). The twin boys are as different as chalk and cheese. Esau is the nature-loving sportsman type. Jacob is the quiet, home-loving, sensitive type. Personalities so diverse challenge our parenting skills. But the crucial difference wasn’t between these two boys, it was between the parents, and between the parents and the boys. Isaac and Rebekah, as parents, were not united; they did not love unconditionally! ‘Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau.’ There’s the crux of their family dysfunction! Dad ‘loved’ based on his conditions. If Esau brought home the venison, he was loved. There are basically three kinds of love: love if you meet my need; love because you have met my need and love in spite of, requiring nothing from you-God’s kind of love, the love children need from parents. Selfish parenting requires children to constantly prove they’re worthy of our love. Isaac’s was love if-and because-Esau met his needs. But conditional love is like probation. Its temporary approval and earned favouritism leave our children feeling, ‘If I don’t do and be what you want, you’ll reject me.’ It breeds insecurity, inadequacy, anxiety, deceit, depression and self-destructive ideas in children. Grades, looks, gifts and abilities have nothing to do with love. Ironically though, your child’s performance and attitude are likely to improve significantly from knowing they’re loved unconditionally.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 4:18-6:33, Mark 12:1-12, Ps 48, Pr 13:2-3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2011

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