There is a great idiom that states…
“You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
For a moment, let’s talk about Esau. He is the firstborn and the prize of his father’s heart. He knows he is favored by him and while his mother always sides with his little brother, the parent with the power is the one on his side. Sure, he has seen how his brother sits around and seldom contributes to the well-being of his family, but it doesn’t matter…he is the eldest and will receive the vast inheritance.
Until…a moment of hunger drives him to his breaking point. He ‘gives up’ his birthright, but that was just for a lousy cup of stew. In his mind, it isn’t his to give up…it is his father’s choice. And regardless of what he and lil’ brother have said, he dismisses it as another game his brother is playing with him.
Yet, when his father is on his deathbed, he is told to go prepare a meal for him. Dutifully he heads out to hunt and when he returns, he prepares the meal and enters his father’s presence. Read Genesis 27:32-38. Tricked! His brother has deceived his father and himself! How might one feel in such a moment as this? How have you felt in moments where you have been deceived or tricked? Hurt, angry, vengeful, bewildered?
And so, Esau has a plan—kill the trickster so I’ll not only get even but get the blessing. He stews on this and shares his thoughts just loud enough that his mother hears. And she continues to protect the other brother. Undoubtedly, anyone who has been tricked knows what it is like to walk in Esau’s shoes. Perhaps murder isn’t a part of the plot but getting even often is. And yet, God has a way of working it out.
Until we can see the Esau response in ourselves, this reality can fester and germinate in ways that not only injure others, but ultimately injure ourselves. For the soul wounding, that isn’t healed, will rot us from the inside. Perhaps that is why Jesus spoke so often about forgiveness!