But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. – Genesis 33:4
1 Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men.
3 Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him.
4 Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.
5 Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?” “These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied.
8 “And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.”
9 “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.”
10 But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God!
11 Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift.
A man going for a job interview. It was last in a series of interviews and he was meeting face-to-face with the president of the company. The CEO asked, “What is the greatest thing you’ve ever done?” Without hesitation the man replied, “Forgiving those who have hurt me deeply!” He was immediately hired.
Life is filled with offenses and wrongs great and small. One of the most difficult things to do is to forgive others when they have hurt us deeply. But that is exactly what we are commanded to do.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
How much are we supposed to forgive? Paul’s command provides the standard for forgiveness. The Father for him him gave us first and completely when we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. We continue to receive His forgiveness daily as we confess our sins and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
In the same way, our forgiveness of others is to be complete, freely given, and persistent.
The Lord Jesus sets forth His standard for us by way of example in His model prayer.
Luke 11:4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
REFLECT & PRAY
It is so easy to be hurt and offended by the real or imagined intentions or actions of others. I have the power to resist being hurt. But more importantly, when I am hurt, I have the power to forgive.
Father encourage me to practice forgiving others even as You have forgiven me.
What is the Father’s solution for the self-made prison of bitterness, resentment, and hostility? It is the remarkable power of forgiveness.
A Few Definitions
Anger is a strong feeling of intense displeasure, hostility, or indignation as a result of real or imagined threat, insult, frustration, or injustice toward yourself or others important to you.
Forgiveness is defined as “giving up resentment against someone and surrendering one’s right to retaliate—no matter what the other person did.”
Unforgiveness is “a deliberate, willful refusal to give up resentment or an insistence that someone pay for a wrong that was committed” (Stanley).
The Greek word translated forgive or forgiveness is aphiemi. Aphiemi practically speaking means to stop blaming or taking an offense into account. It literally has the sense to send off or away, let go, as a legal technical term it means divorce. When it comes to forgiving others, and has a sense of letting go, leaving in peace, pardoning, or canceling debts.
Forgiveness can be difficult because we think wrongdoers should not get away with their offenses. But when we accepted Christ as our Savior, we surrendered the right to take matters into our own hands. Our only responsibility is to forgive and let the Lord take care of the rest (Stanley).
Jacob and Esau had been separated for 20 years. Through scheming and deception Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright and father’s blessing. As a result, Esau hated Jacob and plotted to kill him. Jacob feared for his life, took off and got away.
Now is the time of reconciliation and forgiveness. Jacob had just wrestled with the angel of the Lord and had experienced a major perspective transformation. This prepared him to seek forgiveness from Esau. Jacob bows in humility. Esau reciprocates and embraces in love and forgiveness.
When we are imprisoned by unforgiveness, the Father has provided a means of escape and release: forgiveness.