If you’ve ever been lied about, falsely accused, or hurt you understand the resolution of the conflict is a process. God desires us to resolve these conflicts. He provides a guide for this in Genesis 31.
In Genesis 31, we find Jacob fleeing from Laban, his father-in-law. Jacob overheard Laban’s sons accusing him of stealing from the family. Jacob knew this was not true. God told Jacob to go back to his homeland, take his family, and all his possessions with him. Jacob made plans and departed immediately.
Three days later, Laban heard of the escape and began to hunt Jacob down. It took seven days for Laban and all the men he had brought with him to catch up to Jacob and his family. Laban was angry with Jacob and Jacob knew it. God protected Jacob by telling Laban he could not speak good or evil to Jacob.
When Laban overtook the traveling group, he asked a lot of “WHY” questions. He lied about Jacob, accused Jacob of stealing, and made an un-invited search of all the possession of Jacob and his family. There was one place Laban agreed not to search at the request of his daughter.
Jacob became angry with Laban and his tirade. Because of this, Jacob honestly recounted the facts of their family history. In the process, Jacob answered some of the “WHY” questions Laban had posed.
After hearing Jacob’s “side of the story”, Laban proposed to make an agreement with Jacob. They set up a monument and decided they’d stay on their sides and not cross. Jacob agreed to take care or Laban’s daughters he had been given as wives. Laban agreed to not cross the heap of stones they had set up to cause harm to Jacob.
The story ends with a meal, restful night, and departure the next morning
The 6 steps we can learn for resolving conflict when we’ve been hurt from this true story are
- Know you’re in God’s plan for your life – Jacob had heard God tell Him to go back to his homeland. He followed God’s lead, did what God had said, and was trusting God’s leading.
- Confess your fears – When Laban asked the “WHY” questions, Jacob answered honestly confessing his fears and distrust of Laban.
- Ask questions – Laban asked a lot of questions, but Jacob also asked questions. He wanted to know what he had done to cause Laban to be so angry with him. Jacob wanted to know why Laban had thought so poorly of him that caused him and his sons to tell lies about him.
- Be honest with the facts – Jacob honestly stated the facts of what had happened. He told the truth about the history of their relationship, circumstances, and his perspective on how the past had occurred.
- Listen – Jacob listened to Laban. He heard Laban’s side of the story. The “side” Laban told was a lie but Jacob did not retaliate. Laban stated his request to “no body wins”, but let’s come to an agreement.
- Join in the agreement – Laban came up with a “no pass” agreement. Jacob wouldn’t hurt Laban’s girls and Laban would not step beyond the agreement to cause harm to Jacob.
Everyone did keep their agreement. Jacob did not hurt the daughters of Laban and Laban caused no harm to Jacob.
The next time you have been “hurt” in a relationship, attempt these 6 steps to work to resolve the conflict. If you are unsure or need additional support or guidance, seek counsel from a Christian leader, mentor, or coach. Proverbs 11:14 says ” in an abundance of counselors there is safety”.
One final thing to consider . . . notice Laban never agreed he had hurt Jacob, done him wrong, or violated him in any way. Sometimes in conflict resolution, we will not get a validation of our hurt from the individual who hurt us.
Written By: Anne Gurley