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Summary: It’s time to become a returnee and brave the journey to the land of promise. But is he prepared to lose his job to pursue his destiny? Are you?

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Genesis 31:1-55 – LEARNING FROM A TOXIC WORKPLACE

He has been bullied into working for them for many years. Now he overhears his co-workers making derisive comments about him in a private conversation. They falsely accuse him of wrong-doing and attack his character. They don’t even work in his department but it seems his reputation has been tarnished (Genesis 31:1,2).

Their loss is not the forfeiture of wealth but of relationship with Jacob. They grumble about him, ostracise him and criticise him, rather than embrace him as family.

If jealousy is allowed it’s way, it will fester and rule over your life. It will mislead your motives and prejudice your perspectives. The murmurings of malice will begin to spill venom into your speech.

The lust of envy has already adversely affected Jacob’s life. Deceptive half-truths and distortions have shadowed of his family history. Lies and malicious rumours now dog his own steps and bite at his heels, stripping away pieces of his reputation.

Am I willing to be bullied by the limiting attitudes of others?

Laban & Sons is a toxic workplace. If we reverse the curse of their poisonous bullying we can find some positive principles for a healthy workplace environment. If only Laban and his sons would…

1. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS (instead of play the Blame Game)

Jealous of Jacob’s success, Laban perceives that it is at his expense. The company hasn’t made a profit this year and Jacob becomes an object of false blame, a scapegoat. Surely a healthy workplace culture depends on a boss who takes responsibility and encourages his workers to succeed in their endeavours.

2. ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION (not Workplace Inflexibility and Oppression)

Are the results of my changes welcomed or does it appear to others that I am trying to take over. A healthy workplace encourages creativity and innovation.

3. BE INCLUSIVE AND BUILD HEALTHY WORK RELATIONSHIPS (vs Power Politics)

Laban: “There are unwritten laws and expectations. Everyone has to have some kind of workplace politics! All he has to do is tow-the-line and not challenge the status quo; do things our way. He won’t accept that we are the ones in authority.”

Jacob: “Am I willing to challenge those who legislate rules in favour of their autocratic leadership style?”

It is often the few, like Laban and his sons, who have the loudest voices and they market their ideas in the cauldrons of power in order to coerce others to become a puppet of their political correctness. Are we destined to ape the morality of those we admire the least?

Relationship building, not autocratic power-mongering, is the sign of a healthy workplace environment.

4. INSPIRE SUCCESS (vs being Threatened by Success)

Does my workplace culture remain fluid and open to new ideas rather than domineering and repressive, inspiring success?

We can choose to refuse a bullying culture. In educational institutions as well as political arenas, workplaces as well as neighbourhoods, there are authoritarian, arrogant, narcissistic personalities, who feel a strong need to control or dominate, and who use bullying as a tool to conceal their shame and boost their self-esteem, demeaning others in order to feel empowered, the Laban and Sons of our world.

As we overcome the obstacles, the barriers, brick walls, roadblocks, hurdles ahead and find the direction and the courage we need to move forward in our lives, moving away from toxic environments will we find the purpose for which we are designed to fulfill.

Having purpose and privilege in being involved in that which has eternal value does not make it easier for you or me to find the courage we need to face our detractors; those who dislike us; critics or cynics; and those who say disparaging things about our faith and play the bully in the name of tolerance.

Jacob is no innocent, perfect man. He’s under pressure, and obedience to God will often involve going against the flow. He is learning not be bullied by the restrictive attitudes of others. Once, he had his manipulating mother to push him past his problems using deception, but now he will find other allies and a different courage inspired by faith instead of fear.

It’s time to become a returnee and brave the journey to the land of promise. But is he prepared to lose his job to pursue his destiny? Are you?

Genesis 31:1-13 - FOCUS ON THE PROMISE NOT THE PROBLEM

FOCUS

“The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus” (Alexander Graham Bell).

The fleeting movement had caught my interest. It was only a leaf, red on one side and green on the other. As I focused on the outward edge I saw tiny green legs. Turning the leaf over, a small spider momentarily appeared and then retreated to the other side, away from the light and my attention.

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