Forgiveness is hard but not impossible
But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.Genesis 33:4
Forgiveness is a hard thing to do. Often, when we look at those who have wronged us, we can only think of the harm that they did to us. Pain has a memory of its own that is more vivid than other things. It can overshadow and rob joy, happiness, and peace from our lives. This can be demonstrated by seeing someone who has caused pain while having a good day. It often leads to that good day becoming worse if we let it.
In the passage above, Jacob is returning home after years of living with Laban in an attempt to hide from his brother Esau. Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright, a thing that was much more important during their time than ours, by taking advantage of Esau when he was hungry. Jacob also cheated Esau out of his father’s blessing by disguising himself as Esau. Because of this abuse, Esau sought to kill Jacob. Now that Jacob is returning, he rightly fears that Esau still remembers what Jacob did and desires his death. However, that’s not what happens.
Upon seeing Jacob, Esau runs to meet him. While Jacob bows before Esau in a sign of humility, Esau embraces his brother and weeps. The passage goes on to show that Esau is simply happy to see his brother and the sins done to Esau lay in the past.
This is the kind of forgiveness that we should show others. It would have been much easier for Esau to hate his brother and hold a grudge against him. However, Esau demonstrates forgiveness and embraces his brother, bringing Jacob back into a relationship with him.
Likewise, we must forgive those who have wronged, hurt, or abused us. This is not just because it is beneficial or because it’s healthy (although, it is both of those things). Rather, we should forgive those who have caused harm because of Christ’s forgiveness. In our sins, we have saddened God over and over again. He showed us love when we ran from him. He died for us when our backs were turned from him. After all of that, he still forgives us.
If you are a child of God, you have received this forgiveness that none of us deserve. And so, we should demonstrate our love for God and the grace that he has shown us by forgiving those who have wronged us. If you have not placed your faith in Christ, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your life or how severe it was. God will forgive you and you too can be a recipient of this forgiveness.
This week, are there people in your life that you need to forgive? If there is, pray that God will give you the strength that he gave Esau to forgive Jacob.