For most of my early life, I was not what you would call a good person. The truth is, I’ve been quite despicable. I’ve been called a lot of names over the years… most of them have been true. I’ve cheated others. I’ve been unfaithful. I’ve stolen. I’ve mistreated my own children. I’ve mistreated my wives. I’ve lied. And I’m talking, big, big lies. If it’s wrong, I’ve done it.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family. This isn’t an excuse… just the truth. It was just my dad, my mom, my brother and me. My mom and I were always close but I never really had much to do with my dad. He was distant. He liked different things than I did, never really understood me, and always preferred my brother. They were tough guys and liked to do “guy stuff.” They used to do things together all the time and I was never included. That just wasn’t my thing. So I just stayed with my mom. I got used to it over the years.
Because of this family life, my brother and I have never been close. He had his friends, did his things, and stayed with dad. I had my friends and hung out with mom. If my brother wanted something, I rarely gave it to him. Why should I? He was a jerk to me and I didn’t like him. Several times, I stole things from my brother that my dad had given him. I knew my dad would never give me the things I wanted, so I just took them from my brother when dad gave things to him. My brother knew I took things, but I always covered my tracks well so he could never prove it.
Until one day when I went too far. My parents have always been rich, so when dad was getting close to death, he decided to give my brother some of the family’s most priceless heirlooms. That was too much for me so I just stole them. My brother threatened to kill me. My dad was furious. I was sick of dealing with them so I left.
I left town and went to where we had family in another state. I got a job with some of the family doing some menial work. Soon after arriving, I met my wife. She was beautiful, just what I wanted in a woman so I worked hard, earned some money and then married her. It looked like life was getting better, away from my parents and home, but things took a turn for the worse. My wife’s sister moved in with us and I got her pregnant. Without saying too much, I found out their religion was the kind that allowed this sort of thing. My wife wasn’t happy and we argued a lot but I couldn’t throw out her sister and our kid. I ended up marrying the sister also and we had a few more kids. I also took two more women in my house and we had kids together.
Things calmed down in the house after several years and things again looked like they were getting better until I found out that I was being cheated out of money by my family. I had worked with them for over a decade and found out that all that I was saving for wasn’t happening. Long story short, I made a deal with them to try and earn some savings for the family. In reality, I bought myself some time to cheat them out of the money that should have been mine in the first place. I started “cooking the books” and keeping some of the profit for myself. Over the next several years, the family grew suspicious and I realized it was time to leave.
Unfortunately, we had no where to go. My family, at that point, consisted of multiple wives and children. We had a good amount of money at this point so I decided we would go back to where I grew up. When word got out that we were headed there, I heard my brother was still looking for me. I knew if he was still angry about the past, he would kill me. He was always an angry sort of person. I couldn’t go back to where my wives grew up. I couldn’t go home to where I grew up. I had no where safe to go. I was desperate.
So I turned to God.
(Refer to the parallels in the story of Jacob in Genesis to see what happens).