Read Through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 19; Genesis 33
Twenty years earlier Jacob had fled for his life after lying to his father and cheating his brother Esau out of his father’s final blessing.
Jacob was terrified to go back and see Esau again. He expected Esau to kill him, his wives, and his children, or at a minimum anyone would expect Jacob to receive a severe tongue lashing, right?
This is so not what anyone would expect. Forgiveness and reconciliation are rare commodities in human relationships, even between brothers.
Like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, Esau ran to his brother and embraced him.
“How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate." - Luke 15:17-24 ESV
I’m reading about Esau, but all I can think about is God’s overwhelming, never-ending, faithful love. He loved me while I was yet His enemy. Truly He loved me first. I am able to love because He first loved me!
I confess that I don’t really understand how all this works, but I do know that it all begins and ends with our loving Father. He draws us, He pursues us, He draws us to repent, He lavishes His mercy on us.
If Esau was able to forgive his lying, deceiving, selfish brother, that takes an act of God. Likewise, if we’re able to forgive others who hurt us, it’s an act of God.
Dear sisters, God is able to do it through us! What is impossible for man is possible for God! God can give us the strength and humility to forgive others who have hurt us. And He commands it of us. We must forgive others because we have been forgiven by God of SO MUCH!
Which reminds me of another parable that Jesus told. This time in Matthew 18.
"Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’
So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
-Matthew 18:21-35 ESV
Please give us the strength and humility necessary to forgive others. Help us to say with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Help us to pursue others while they are sinners like Jesus pursues us. Help us to overcome evil with good rather than repaying wrong with wrong.
Make us more like Jesus who was willing to suffer that we could be forgiven and set free.
Help us to love others like you have loved us
In the Grace of Christ I pray, Amen.