Genesis 16: 2-6
2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal.
3 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)
4 So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong - you or me!”
6 Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
Here we find two brides at war. Both have taken offense, and both are running with offense. Running with offense is like running with scissors. You should never, ever do it. It’s really dangerous. I don’t know about you, but in my household my mother gave me protocol for carrying a knife or scissors. You always carry them in a neutral position. Never carry your scissors pointing outwards or inwards!
I saw a meme once that said this: “3rd Annual Run With Scissors Marathon.” It had all these people lined up to run with scissors, and then they had a person on the microphone saying, “Good luck, everyone! Maybe this will be the year someone finishes the race!” Running with offense is kind of like that though, right! When we run with offense, we run without thinking who we are hurting, who we are harming, or the hearts that we are hardening in the process. We all need to finish this race, and we all need each other to finish this race with.
In Genesis 16, Sarai runs with her scissors pointing out. This is dangerous because you could stab someone. And she does! First on the running with accusation list is Abram. Sarai blames Abram for the plan she comes up with. Isn’t that funny? But we’re all guilty of playing the blame game. Sometimes things are our ideas and our plan, and if they work out then we take credit. But when it doesn’t work out, we blame someone else.
Sarai is really angry with Abram, and she begins to take it out on her servant Hagar. She is harsh enough to cause Hagar to run away. When we run with accusation, we blame and exclude others - all while avoiding the main issue. Sarai was really most angry about her OWN shortcomings. Hagar was pressing on the nerve of her inability to conceive. It was natural for Sarai to have insecurity around this. But Sarai’s main problem is that she didn’t own her own issues. She just made them everybody else’s.
When we have an issue in front of us, the first thing we like to do is deal with the people around us instead of dealing with what’s on the inside of us. This is what Sarai does. Sarai dealt with Hagar instead of dealing within herself. The danger in not owning our issues is that we drive everybody away that God has called us to run and do life with and fulfill the promise with. This is the very way that we isolate ourselves in community. This is the very way that we come into the house of God and make enemies of our own teammates.
Here’s the truth, though. Others can’t produce anything in you that you don’t allow. When we start to take ownership of some of the stuff in our world, we have to take a look at the situation and realize, “Nobody can produce anything in me I don’t allow them to. I’m letting them mess with me. I’m letting them mess with my head. I’m letting them get inside my heart. I’m letting that situation agitate me. I’m letting that situation evoke anger in me. I’m letting it.”
It’s time to take ownership of our insecurities, inadequacies and hurts. The strife in our relationships springs from the strife within us. It’s only when we acknowledge ownership that we can exercise good stewardship of our emotions. We corrupt the process of promise-carrying together when we fail to steward our emotions.
Additional Scriptures: Matthew 7:3-5 and Romans 2:1
Sarai ran with the scissors of accusation, but we can also run with scissors of things like anger, criticism, gossip, etc. What are the traps that you fall into when running with your scissors pointed out?
Are there insecurities in your life that cause you to offend or harm others? How can you deal with those insecurities from within yourself this week?
I am so thankful for the women you have placed in my life who are there to help me grow. Give me wisdom to discern my own shortcomings and to deal with them internally rather than taking them out on others. Strengthen my heart as I learn to become a better steward of my emotions.
In Jesus’s Name,