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Genesis 30: Avoid Unhealthy Rivalries and Using People As Means to an End

As a sports fan, I believe that healthy competition is a great thing. However, when these rivalries become far too intense, they become unhealthy. In fact, they can entirely destroy relationships.

Genesis chapter 30 illustrates a rivalry as to who can bear more children. Rachel and Leah keep having children, and they seem to think that having more children have helped them become kind of the “best wife.”

Gen 30:8  And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.

Gen 30:20  And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.

Neither sister is innocent in this situation. They both want to end up with a favorable result, and they feel that the only way they can do that is by defeating the other one.

This is not how we are supposed to treat each other. We are supposed to treat each other with love and to understand that we should not be only worried about ourselves.

Php 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Php 2:4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

This almost directly addresses what was talked about in Genesis. We shouldn’t do things just to get ahead. We should do things that help other people. We should not only think about our own interests. We should worry about what is best for everyone around us.

That is also somewhat difficult to do in our everyday lives.

For example, how easy is it for us to want to cut someone off in traffic because we need to get somewhere on time?

It seems rather insignificant, but if you think about it, we really should be thinking about everyone. We shouldn’t just think about achieving our own means. We shouldn’t put other people in danger by cutting them off.

I know that this sometimes happens accidentally, and of course this example is probably a little bit oversimplified.

However, at the most basic level, this passage in Genesis is showing two people who want to go the same place, and they are trying to climb over each other to achieve their goal.

As shown through the passage in Philippians, we are not supposed to act this way towards each other. We are supposed to view each other as more important than ourselves. We shouldn’t use other people as a means to an end, and we shouldn’t try to put people down in order to make ourselves look better.

This is a hard mission, but it is one that we need to work towards completing. Think about the impact that it would have on all of our interpersonal relations…

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