“Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright as of this day.’ And Esau said, ‘Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?’ Then Jacob said, ‘Swear to me as of this day.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.”
Esau had an excuse for giving up his birthright. I’m sure that he later regretted it, but excuses are cheap and easy to come by.
Zig Ziglar once described what he called a “loser’s limp”. A loser’s limp is seen when a runner pulls up during the race and pretends to have a hurt leg to explain his loss. “I couldn’t help losing. I hurt my leg.” I’ve seen some pretty crazy attempts to show a loser’s limp. I’ve even come up with a few on my own. The appeal to make excuses can be strong, but that does not make it OK. The thing about loser’s limps is that they seem so legitimate.
If I pull a muscle, that’s serious!
Twisting an ankle can cause severe damage.
Esau had that beat my a mile. “If I don’t give him my birthright, I’m going to STARVE to death!”
Excuses And False Dichotomies
We’ve considered this from a spiritual perspective and from a long-term perspective. Now let’s just consider it from a perspective of excuses. It seems extremely unlikely that he faced the dilemma he proposed. He convinced himself that he was either going to lose his birthright or die. Regardless of the answer to that dilemma, we need to remember that there are rarely only two options in life, even if we think there are only two. This is a false dichotomy, and most dichotomies are just that: false.
A bar-tender justified his selling of liquor by asking his preacher, “I have to eat, don’t I?” Keenly aware of the false dichotomy, the preacher responded, “No.”
If one must choose between the two, a Christian already has. (See Galatians 2:20.) But it’s rarely a choice between sin and death. We fool ourselves into that kind of thinking because we want to sin. It’s usually as simple as that. Esau wanted soup, and he found a good “reason”, hence he despised his birthright.
Have you found similar excuses? We’ve all been there. Let’s get rid of the excuses and the false dichotomies. Can we help?