Jacob probably felt like he was taking one step forward and two steps back. Jacob was changing, or to be more precise, God was changing Jacob. It looked like Jacob was on the path to experience God’s long-promised blessings.
But then one of the local men, Shechem, raped his daughter, Dinah. Jacob’s sons took matters into their own hands and Simeon and Levi avenged their sister by killing not just Shechem but every male in the city as well. While we can wonder about Jacob’s response, or lack thereof, to his daughter being raped, and we can recognize the disproportionate actions of his sons, there is something else for us to consider in this chapter.
Jacob was trying to live differently, but he was not in a vacuum. The actions of his sons impacted him, just as his actions had impacted so many others. God designed us for community, and we are to strive to be an encouragement and blessing to others and to keep our actions from being a detriment to them.
How have your actions possibly been harmful to someone else recently, either intentionally or unintentionally? Have you confessed this and sought forgiveness?