When Differences Divide

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They say opposites attract. When it comes to relationships, there’s plenty of evidence to back up that theory. Often times, a saver will marry a spender, an introvert will marry an extrovert, and a procrastinator will marry a planner. As time passes, the differences that initially were appreciated – or maybe just tolerated – tend to be the very things that will lead to relational conflict.  In some cases, that which is opposite no longer attracts. It repels. While this is true in some marriages, this same issue can occur between other family members and friends, too.

That said, sometimes opposites never attract. They only repel. Take the twins, Jacob and Esau, for example. These boys were as different as night and day, and their struggle with one another apparently began before birth. So much so, that the Lord explained to their mother, Rebekah, the reason for the jostling taking place inside of her: ‘“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger,” (Genesis 25:23, NIV).  As Jacob and Esau got older, their differences became even more apparent: “The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents,” (Genesis 25:27, NIV).

If you are at all familiar with the rest of Jacob and Esau’s story, then you know the conflict between them escalated for many years. Sadly, their ongoing struggle resulted in a tremendous amount of pain and heartache for both them and their family.

Final thoughts…

It’s easy to get hung up on our differences. Trust me, I know. Been there. Done that.

Relationships struggle when we allow that which divides us to overtake that which unites us. Are you struggling with a relationship that is divided by differences? I encourage you to look to the Father.  Examine your heart. Then, do all you can to make it right. It’ll take selflessness. It’ll take patience – but it’s worth it. Walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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