YOU WILL REPEAT WHAT YOU HATED IN YOUR FATHER EXCEPT…
During one of our training sessions, a young man stood up and said to me, “I hate my father and what he is doing but I am doing exactly the same today. I hated to see my father drunk but now I am drinking. I know that I will end up like him looking at the path I am already in. Thank you for showing me the way out today.”
Most men will repeat the pattern of their father unconsciously no matter how much they hated it.
I suspect that Reuben hated the way that Jacob treated his mother Leah. As the first son, he probably saw the need to defend his mother. He saw his mother negotiate for time with his father using the mandrakes he brought from the field as a bargaining chip.
Wait! Do you know the intent behind his name? So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now, therefore, my husband will love me.” (Genesis 29:32 NKJV)
Reuben in his anger began to make very silly decisions:
First, right after the death of his step mum, he laid with her maid (who already had sons for his father).
And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard about it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
(Genesis 35:22 NKJV)
Second, he made very rash decisions. Some of his decisions were very unprocessed and sounded weird. Listen to this:
Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.” (Genesis 42:37 NKJV)
Eventually, he lost his birthright as the first son. Jacob cursed him.
“Reuben, you are my firstborn, My might and the beginning of my strength, The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it— He went up to my couch.”
(Genesis 49:3-4 NKJV)
There are angry young men today who saw their father sleep with multiple girls while their mum looked helpless. Today, they already have multiple sex partners.
Some hated their father because he was a drunkard. They fought him and called him names. They say they are social drinkers but forgot that habits are never formed in one day.
They hated that their father was not responsible but they also are not growing the necessary spiritual discipline that forms the foundation of a great life.
There are two things that will help you:
Forgive your father. Forgiveness sets you free from the trap of offence. The offence holds you down in the same mess that you are fighting. The man you refuse to forgive is more powerful than you are. He controls your reactions and emotions. Forgiveness denies such a man that power.
Follow a Mentor. You will unconsciously repeat the mistakes of your father except you have a mentor as a mirror who models a new reality and points you away from your default destructive tendencies.
When you find such a man, even if it is your pastor, stay close. That is your help- an answer to your prayers.