Family Memories

Gen. 27:41-45 (NKJV)

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering and honoring people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Most people in the United States will get this day off as a holiday. Even though I believe most people know the meaning behind Memorial Day, I believe that most people will not really think much about it and will mainly see it as a day to be off from their regular jobs and either do something fun or catch up on some projects around their house.

The individuals that will truly remember someone that died serving our country will probably be the family members of those that lost their lives. To the family members, the memory is deeply etched into their minds. That’s understandable because whether it’s something good or bad, memories that are about our family stay with us.

Today I want to talk about family memories. Not as much about lost loved ones, although I do want to honor them today, but about what kind of family memories we are making. Are we making good or bad family memories?

There are a few families in the Bible that always come to mind when I focus on the family. One of those families that I want to focus on today is the father Isaac, mother Rebekah and their twin sons, Esau and Jacob. These twin sons were quite a story from the beginning. Esau was born first and very hairy and red in color and Jacob was born immediately behind while holding on to his brother’s heel. The name Esau means red and Jacob means supplanted or heel catcher.

Listen to what Genesis 25 tells us of their birth and how the family started off:

Genesis 25:24–28 (NKJV): So when her (Rebekah) days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

That’s a little about their birth, now let’s jump forward several years to these twins as adults and look at Gen. 27 to get a little glimpse into their family and then see what we can actually learn from their bad experiences to help us make good family memories.

Genesis 27:41–45 (NKJV): So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, “Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?”

Here’s what I learned about family memories:

    1. There are problems that cause bad family memories.
      Isaac and Rebekah, as parents, allowed and even participated in things that created a bad setting for their family.

      1. Division among the family members. Gen. 25:28 tells us that Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. That was just the beginning of family division. The separate loves continued to divide the family. You can’t allow division in the family.
      2. Deception by one family member to another. Gen. 27:35 tells us that Jacob deceived his father and he did it with his mother’s help. Deceit and hidden secrets in a family create bad memories.
      3. Devastating one family member by another’s actions. Gen. 27:34 tells us that Esau cried with bitterness. He was devastated by his brother’s actions against him two different times. Intentional hurt can destroy a family.
    2. There are positives that create good family memories.
      1. Fun times among the family are essential for good memories. We never see any fun mentioned as a whole family. As Joyce and I where gone celebrating our 40th anniversary, we saw a lot of families doing fun things together. There was this one family though that the dad was always griping. Even at fun activities, he was taking the fun out of it. A family needs fun memories even if it requires giving the kids a little slack.
      2. Forgiveness is essential for good family memories. In Gen. 27:41 tells of Esau’s plan to kill his brother, but in Gen. 33:4 gives us a picture of the two brothers embracing after years apart and Esau giving forgiveness. A family that forgives one another has good memories.
      3. Faith as a family is a top priority for good memories. If you read all about Esau, Jacob, and their family, you will find the faith of their grandfather Abraham breaking down in the family. Faith in God practiced as a family is the foundation of good family memories.

What are you putting into your family? What kind of family memories are you creating?