Genesis, Chapter 31, verse 31:
31 Jacob answered Laban, 'I was afraid, thinking you were going to snatch your daughters from me.
According to Kabalistic sources[i] Laban was a powerful man. Laban was a magi and the whole world feared him. Jacob feared him too, and that was why he fled from Laban in the middle of the night with his wives Rachel and Leah. Laban had cheated Jacob many times but in spite of Laban’s sly tricks God had ensured that Jacob prospered. Jacob feared Laban but when the Lord said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, I will be with you”, he did so, but in secret.
It is natural to fear powerful men or women who can do us grave harm.
What does a person do who finds themselves afraid of powerful, selfish and perhaps evil people? Naturally your choices are you can either fight, run, do nothing, come to a compromise or grow by developing a third alternative as described by the late Dr. Steven Covey[ii]. That is to come to a solution that is better than Jacob or Laban in this example, could have come up on their own. In this case God intervened for Jacob by coming to Laban in a dream warning him not to harm Jacob and as a result both Laban and Jacob came up with a solution that was better than they separately had in mind; and parted as friends.
Next time you are faced with fear; resist the temptation to react in the classic fight or flight method and try to discover a way for everyone to win. That is not always possible but that should be your goal.
Traditionally today is the Feast of the Epiphany or the day the three kings presented gifts to Christ. They are an example of men who overcame great obstacles and their own fears to come and present gifts to our Lord. They also being wise men knew that they could not trust Herod when he asked them to return to him and tell him where Christ was. It is not always possible to get to a win-win situation and we must also use our wisdom as the three Kings did and know when we must fight, run, do nothing, compromise or prepare for growth.
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