Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”
His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”
What Jacob Doesn’t Say
The first thing that strikes me is what Jacob doesn’t say.
- He doesn’t say, “Mom, that would be wrong!”
- He doesn’t say, “We shouldn’t be trying to trick him!”
- He doesn’t say, “He’ll feel betrayed!”
What we don’t say often says far more about our hearts than what we do say.
What They Both Say
The second thing that strikes me is the set of pronouns both Jacob and Rebekah use:
Jacob’s concerns are…
- …I have smooth skin…
- …touches me?
- …I would appear…
- …a curse upon myself…
And what is Rebekah’s reply?
- …let the curse fall on me…
- …do what I say…
- …get them for me…
Both Jacob and Rebekah are focused on their three best friends: Me. Myself. I.
What No Mother Should Ever Say
The third thing that strikes me is Rebekah’s replay to Jacob:
“Let the curse fall on me.”
Initially, I was stunned by Rebekah’s hubris. What kind of woman so casually welcomes a curse?
And then I realized that there are other ways to phrase, “Let the curse fall on me.”
What Entitlement Parenting Says
- “Mommy will fix everything.”
- “Nobody needs to know. We’ll keep this between you and me.”
- “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”
Were Rebekah offering redemptive, sacrificial grace to an erring child, as Christ does to us, that would be one thing.
But she’s not.
First, she’s demanding that Jacob perform in a way that fulfills her needs. And then she’s promising to take the fall if anything goes wrong.
Both are so very very wrong.
Children are not supposed to meet their parents’ needs.
And parents can not “fix everything” for their children.
Researcher Brene Brown writes, “I no longer see [parental] rescuing and intervening as unhelpful; I now think of it as dangerous.”
As we’ll see in the days to come, Rebekah learns this lesson the hardest possible way.
Recognizing Rebekah in the Mirror
I SO don’t want to identify with Rebekah.
I don’t, I DON’T, I DO NOT!
But this story has been haunting me since January because I keep recalling all the ways I’ve said, “Let the curse fall on me.” With no clue that I was saying it. And no clue of the consequences.
So as much as I don’t want to see myself in Rebekah, I don’t want to keep repeating her mistakes, and I really don’t want to reap her consequences.
It’s too late to change Rebekah’s story.
But not too late to change ours.
Try This Today:
As you’re building your “God Will Provide” family time line, include a situation in which a child (of any age) was allowed to experience the consequence of his or her choices.
Why do you think parents are so quick to “rescue” children from the consequences of their choices these days?