Edison stared at the access denied message blinking on his computer screen like an annoying strobe light flicking on and off. He slammed his fist on the desk. Why wouldn’t it work?

First his bank account locked him out due to an incorrect PIN. The one he’d been using for years. This afternoon his credit card wouldn’t work, and now this.

What’s going on in the cyber world?

Edison grabbed his phone and dialed tech support. Explaining what happened, he gave the guy his work identification number.

He drummed his fingers on the desk waiting for a response.

“Sir, we don’t have any record of that number in our system. What’s your name?”

“Edison Beals. That’s B-E-A-L-S.”

Fingers clicked on a keyboard on the other end of the line.

“Sorry, the only Beals we have working here is Jamie Beals, Vice-president of Acquisitions.”

Edison bolted out of his chair, bringing the phone crashing to the floor. “Wait a minute. That’s my brother and he has never been employed here. Just me and for over fifteen years.”

“Is this a joke? Sir, I don’t have time for this.” Click.

Edison threw the receiver and clenched his jaw. Could it be possible?

What did you do to me, Jamie?

These days we hear a lot about protecting our identity and how easily someone can steal it with only limited information. Did you know this type of theft started back in Bible times? Who stole the first one? Jacob.

stolen identity

The story of Jacob and Esau stood out in my mind growing up. How could a brother be so mean? Don’t get me wrong. I know siblings can be relentless to each other. I grew up with two, so I realize times aren’t always peaceful within a family. My brother used to call me names and my sister often locked me out of the room. (Of course, I was never mean to them! :-)) However, what Jacob did to his brother was unforgivable. Or was it? What can we learn from these twins?

Jacob let himself be pressured. His mother convinced Jacob that he needed to steal Esau’s blessing. You have to realize in those days this special right identifies a person as the head of the family. It was extremely important. Because Isaac decided to give it to Esau, Rebekah was angry and convinced Jacob to trick Isaac into thinking he was Esau. Why would he go along with it? Jealousy? Pride? Greed? Probably all of these. Could he have stopped this? Of course, but he went along with his mother’s plan and impersonated his brother. Do we let ourselves be pressured into doing something we know is wrong? If we’re being honest, I’m sure we’d have to admit we have. It could be something small or large. Doesn’t matter. We need to stand our ground and not give in to pressure.

Jacob was deceitful. Even though Jacob didn’t come up with this masterful plan, he still went along with it and lied to his father. He stole his brother’s identity to get ahead. I remember when I was young I kept something I did from my mother. I knew it was wrong and I even asked my brother not to tell her. In what ways have you been deceitful? It hurts our Father when we do these things. Jacob should have been ashamed. Us too.

Esau held a grudge. It tells us in Genesis 27:41 that Esau held a grudge against Jacob for what he did. I know what you’re thinking, and I agree. Who would blame him? What Jacob did was appalling. However, we’re commanded to forgive even when wronged. Is there someone you’re holding a grudge against? Confess it and make it right.

Jacob made amends. Years later, Jacob realized what he did was wrong and reached out to Esau. He sent his servants ahead of him to offer gifts. It takes courage to step up to the plate and admit when you’re wrong. That’s exactly what Jacob did. Let’s follow his example. Is there someone you’ve wronged and need to ask forgiveness from? Do it today.

Esau forgave. Can you imagine what went through Jacob’s mind when he saw the brother he’d wronged coming in the distance? He’s going to kill me. Let’s run for our lives. However, Esau did the unthinkable. He ran to his brother, wrapped his arms around his neck, and kissed Jacob. Not the reaction Jacob was probably expecting. Esau put away his anger and forgave Jacob. Wow. Would you do the same? Forgive the person who wronged you. Yes, it’s hard but think about the joy waiting around the corner!

Has someone stolen your identity? Have you stolen someone else’s? I’m not talking literally but figuratively. Maybe someone tricked you into doing something you wouldn’t normally have done. Or perhaps you made someone look bad. Now it’s cost them something precious.

It’s time to make amends. Admit we’re wrong and ask forgiveness. Have you forgiven yourself too? Sometimes that’s just as hard. We beat ourselves up over something we’ve done. We’re human and make mistakes. How about we extend grace inward too. God has.

Or maybe we need to have compassion and forgive. This can be tough. Holding on to a grudge may seem like the thing to do because we’re hurt. Remember how you felt when you were wronged? Extend grace to others.

Let’s learn from these twins and their story of stolen identity.

What are your thoughts on the story of Jacob and Esau? What did you learn from them? Share with us in the comments section. Don’t be scared…we learn from each other!

Genesis 27:35 (NIV)

But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

Genesis 33:4 (NIV)

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. 

Forgiveness by Matthew West

This is a powerful song about forgiveness.

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