They were sisters. Family. And now, this thing between Leah and Rachel has become almost too hard to watch. And let’s be clear about what it is we are watching.
Two women hurting each other because of a desire to have what the other one has. To be fair, we’re not talking about a favorite shirt or a boyfriend. The wants in these women go deep and desperate. One wanted love, the other wanted children. Hard things to want and not have, especially when someone else is getting them.
This rivalry – the envy, and jealousy- it isn’t just a bible story, it’s a human story. Because someone will always have something we want, something we can’t have.
Let’s pull in a little closer. I see some things and I think I want you to see them with me.
Leah saw Jacob’s love for Rachel as her (Leah’s) failure to be worthy of love. So she did what women do – she tried to become worthy. She had no way of knowing that Jacob’s love of Rachel had nothing to do with Leah. That boy was destined to be smitten with that girl and nothing was going to change it.
On the other hand, Leah’s ability to bear sons was seen by Rachel as a glaring reminder of her own inability to do the same. It made her desperate. How much healing would happen if we understood one simple truth –
Someone else’s abundance is not my lack. Their victory is not my defeat. Their blessing is not my curse. Their good fortune is not my bad luck. (Seriously. I could go on all day, but I think we get it.)
Envy and jealousy are the children of comparison and those kids take everything personally. For most of us today (Sister Wives excluded), we aren’t comparing ourselves to our husband’s other wife. You know, the pretty one. It’s not that up close and in our face, unless we put it there. Oh Lord, can we stop putting it there?! The younger women in my life – here’s my Titus 2 moment for you:
If you can’t scroll through social media without comparing, delete your social media. Because comparison is destructive to your soul, to your home, to your relationships. Deal with it like the enemy it is.
We are rarely the only victims of our comparisons. I wonder if Leah’s sons knew that her hope of being loved was pinned to them. Or that they were the source of Rachel’s pain.
Love wasn’t enough for Rachel and children weren’t enough for Leah and their story is our story. We continue to compare because we continue to measure our worth by what we lack. The collateral damage can be heartbreaking.
Jacob surely felt the sting of knowing his love wasn’t enough for Rachel. And don’t you think Leah’s sons knew they were not enough for Leah. Each woman longed for something other than what was in front of them.
This too is our story, and we’re the only ones who can change the narrative. Maybe we should look around at those who are with us, the ones who are loving us and serving us and putting up with us and let three simple words come.
Say it with words, say it with actions, but say it. Because the odds are pretty good that someone needs to hear it.