On Forgiveness

Today’s Readings
Genesis 33-35, Matthew 10:1-20


10 Jacob said, “No, please, do me the kindness of accepting my gift. Seeing your face is like seeing God’s face, since you’ve accepted me so warmly. 11 Take this present that I’ve brought because God has been generous to me, and I have everything I need.” So Jacob persuaded him, and he took it.

12 Esau said, “Let’s break camp and set out, and I’ll go with you.”

13 But Jacob said to him, “My master knows that the children aren’t strong and that I am responsible for the nursing flocks and cattle. If I push them hard for even one day, all of the flocks will die. 14 My master, go on ahead of your servant, but I’ve got to take it easy, going only as fast as the animals in front of me and the children are able to go, until I meet you in Seir.”

15 Esau said, “Let me leave some of my people with you.”

But Jacob said, “Why should you do this since my master has already been so kind to me?” 16 That day Esau returned on the road to Seir,17 but Jacob traveled to Succoth. He built a house for himself but made temporary shelters for his animals; therefore, he named the place Succoth (Genesis 33:10-17, Common English Bible).

“I can’t forgive him. I just can’t do it, not after what he did to me.”

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard those words. The exact words may vary. The situation may vary from one person to another, but the meaning is much the same. “I have so much anger toward this person I just cannot let it go.”

In the television show, The Big Bang Theory, the character Sheldon Cooper has a list of “mortal enemies.” These are people who have committed some perceived wrong. In reality, these “mortal enemies” have no clue what they did or even who Sheldon Cooper might be. And, Sheldon is never prepared to forgive easily.

When we last saw Esau, we saw a man who was just about as angry with his brother Jacob as one human can get with another. Though, as we said a few days ago, the sale of Esau’s birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew, was of Esau’s own doing. Still, Esau was angry with his brother over the transaction. Then, Jacob, with the assistance of his mother Rebekah, cheated Esau out of his birthright. Esau did have an issue here.

Time has passed. Jacob was away from Esau for more than 20 years. The old saying of, “Time heals all wounds” probably applies here. Esau seems to forgive and we can only assume that the two brothers lived out their lives in peace. Had Esau not forgiven, there is a good chance that there would be no peace.

The same can be true for us. We get angry with someone and there is no peace. There may be peace on the outside but within us, there will be turmoil and in the end, no one will win.

Over the years of Facebook, there have been many memes with great messages. I may not get the quote exactly right but it says something like this: “You forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.”

Esau found peace.

Have a great day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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