Facebook reminded me of this post. The material is still timely—
Unsafe people live, work, and worship among us. They appear friendly and good. But beneath their scrubbed exterior lies a dark streak.
Laban sold his daughters to Jacob. He betrayed Jacob and Rachel by switching the bride the night of the wedding. He cheated Jacob by changing his wages ten times. His story helps us identify the Labans in our lives.
12 Traits of Unsafe People
- Unsafe people use you as long as it benefits them. (Gen. 30:25-28)
Laban wanted Jacob to stay while Jacob made him prosperous.
- Unsafe people are reasonable to your face, but undermine you behind your back. Gen. 30:34-36)
Laban agreed to give Jacob the spotted and streaked animals as his wages, but gave them to his sons instead. He thought leaving solid colored herds would decrease Jacob’s chances to raise spotted animals.
- Unsafe people are threatened by your success and disregard your faithfulness. (Gen. 31:1-3)
Jacob’s growing herds threatened Laban’s sons. Laban’s attitude changed toward Jacob. They forgot Jacob’s work had made them rich.
- Unsafe people can’t thwart God’s blessings or will for you. (Gen. 31:4-9)
Every time Laban changed Jacob’s wages, God intervened. If Laban said, “The speckled ones will be your wages,” then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young.
- Unsafe people don’t determine your well-being. (Gen. 31:14-16)
Rachel and Leah acknowledged the bounty their heavenly Father supplied in spite of their father’s wrongs towards them.
- Unsafe people are on God’s leash. (Gen. 31:24)
Jacob couldn’t have stood against Laban’s men. He didn’t need to. God appeared in a dream and stopped Laban from attacking Jacob.
- Unsafe people manipulate with guilt and shame. (Gen. 31:26-28)
They make you the villain and them the victim. Jacob had the cooperation of his wives (Gen. 31:4-16), but Laban accused him of carrying them off “like captives in war.” “You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing.”
- Unsafe people’s true intentions come out through their unguarded words. (Gen. 31:29)
I have the power to harm you; but God stopped me.” What? I thought you said Jacob had no cause to run off in secret!
- Unsafe people are mercenary. (Gen. 31:38-41)
Decisions are based on personal profit, not kindness, relationship, or right and wrong.
- Unsafe people believe they are entitled—me, my, mine! Gen. 31:43
Jacob worked twenty years for his wives and flocks. Laban said, “They’re mine!”
- Unsafe people hypocritically accuse you of their ill motives. Gen. 31:15, 50
Laban says, “If you mistreat my daughters…” Laban had already mistreated Rachel and Leah.
- Unsafe people are distrustful because they assume you share their ill will. Gen. 31:51-52Laban wanted a watchtower to keep Jacob from harming him and promised he wouldn’t pursue Jacob. Jacob wanted to get away from Laban. Laban’s the one who chased Jacob to harm him and had repeatedly cheated him.
Laban debunks the myth we should trust someone just because they are family members, authority figures, or fellow believers. Don’t feel guilty if your caution light flashes when you are around someone. Ask God for discernment and then boldly heed it.Trust people according to their character, not their titles. #discernment Click To Tweet
Do you think it is important to recognize unsafe behavior in the people you deal with? Why or why not? Click here to comment.
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Debbie W. Wilson
Chapter two of Give Yourself a Break looks at how to stop fretting over the Unreasonable People in our lives.
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Wolf photo by: Arran ET