26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?”
31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. Genesis 31:26-31.
The “Fear Because Clause” has led many people to make irrational decisions which seemed right at the time. Jacob clearly states one of the reasons for leaving secretly with his women, children, servants and flocks…”because I thought you would take away my wives -your daughters- from me by force.”
The “Fear Because Clause” is the place where our imaginations fill in the blanks for the future with the worst case scenarios. A child may not tell the whole truth, because he thinks he will be in more trouble. A student cheats on a test, because he thinks he has to have a better grade for life to work well. An employee doesn’t share the whole trouble with finances, because he is hoping for a raise.
Our minds are great at engineering scenarios where our actions will lead to the least conflict or damage to us. Whenever we short circuit God’s righteous path, it always leads to more bondage. Hiding behind the “fear because clause” will not escape God’s notice. Keeping your pornography addiction hidden is never worth the trade off for trust in relationships.
Laban had a very good track record of deceiving Jacob. It appears that Jacob was justified in his thinking because Laban had deceived Jacob in his marriage with Rachel and Leah as well as the sheep. However, God was already at work. He had instructed Jacob it was time to return home. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” Notice the phrase, “I will be with you.”
Let’s picture another scenario for Jacob, starting with God’s abiding presence. Because God is with me, I will seek the blessing of Laban over my life. Because God is with me, I will let him kiss his grandchildren goodbye. Because God is with me, even if Laban deceives and takes from my flock, I know that He will prosper me again. Because God is with me, I want to have clean hands and a pure heart toward God and toward Laban. Sadly, we identify too often with Jacob’s actions with his “fear because clause.”
The presence of God takes away the fear of what may happen negatively to you. Could bad things still happen for telling the truth and coming clean. Yes. But God is still working at that moment. Joseph’s story reveals how God orchestrates the negative toward His purposes for good in Joseph’s life and ultimately his family.
I know this concept needs a longer platform to fully unpack. Let me try to be clear on this Fear Not Friday. Don’t misstep when you try to figure out what may happen if you do the right thing because you are afraid of how something might turn out negatively for you. Give people the benefit of your doubt, because you trust God and not their response. If you have to violate what is open and in the light to keep something hidden or deceiving, it is the wrong path. Trust God’s abiding presence to help you make the right decision which honors God.
You are not in charge of how a person responds to you when you tell the truth and are guided by love. Ask God to expose thoughts which are generated by fear of what may happen. Do the opposite if it brings blessing and honor to God.
May God bless you with freedom, life and light in your actions and decisions today.
Blessings, Love y’all