By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
It had been 20 years since Jacob and Esau had seen each other, since Jacob tricked their Father and stole Esau’s blessing for himself. There is a saying, “Time heals all wounds.” I can tell you that’s not always true.
I’ve seen people so full of hurt and hate toward someone else for so long they don’t even really know why anymore. It seems that over time the pain or the fear of what the other person might think keeps us from taking that first step.
It’s truly heartbreaking to see families, communities, and churches that Jesus loves so much fractured so horribly because of the sin that keeps us from reconciling with one another.
This is a particularly beautiful chapter in Jacob’s life as he just had a life changing experience with God and immediately has this moment of reconciliation with his brother Esau.
There is a difference between reconciliation and forgiveness. You are able to forgive someone without their permission or even knowledge. You can forgive the living and the dead. Christians are commanded to forgive just as Christ has forgiven us, completely.
Reconciliation requires both parties to come to the table and make amends. Forgiveness can happen without reconciliation but reconciliation can never happen without forgiveness. Reconciliation is the completed work of forgiveness.
I had an opportunity to experience this not long ago. I once had a pastor I served with and our relationship deteriorated over time leaving both of us very hurt. I forgave him but I wanted so badly to ask his forgiveness and reconcile in person.
God is so good! He made our paths cross just this year and we were able to hug, weep, laugh, and pray together as brothers. I understand the psalmist’s declaration in Psalm 133 much better now that it is truly a blessing when brothers dwell together in unity.
Paul tells us in Romans that, “If it be at all possible, as much as depends on you, live at peace with one another.” There may be times when it is simply not possible to reconcile right away or ever but I encourage you, Christian, go the second mile and do whatever it takes to be a minister of reconciliation to those in your life.
Jacob didn’t know what Esau might say or do that day but he met him anyway, prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.
Reconciliation can be risky, it can be painful, and it can be costly but it honors our King and it is absolutely worth it.