No family is exempted from conflicts. Some have held grudges up to their last breath. Some have reconciled before they died. There are many stories in the Bible that talk about family feuds and how they worked it out. One great example of reconciliation and restorative justice is the story of two brothers — Esau and Jacob. They were the sons of Isaac and Rebecca.
The conflict of the twin brothers came about when Jacob, with the connivance of his mother, tricked Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau, the first born.
The reaction of Esau is recorded in Genesis 27:41 “Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.””
Because of fear, Jacob ran away. From then on Jacob was always on the run. Until one day he learned that he will cross paths with his brother Esau. The night before they met, Jacob had a wrestling match with God (Genesis 32:24). That was the encounter that changed his life. What lessons can learn here?
First, we cannot always run away from your problem. There will come a time that we will have to face it.
When God touched the hip of Jacob, he was consequently became injured. God was probably telling him that you cannot run away now. You have to face Esau.
Second, we have to confess our sins in order for us to be forgiven. This is the reason why God asked Jacob, “what is your name?” God needed him to confess. Jacob’s name means “the supplanter.” He confessed his sins and God changed his name into Israel.
When we confess our sins and receive the forgiveness of God, we will also be changed by God. We, too, like Jacob can become a new person with a God-given purpose. Just imagine how the nation Israel came about — from a supplanter to a planter of a new nation.
Because of Jacob’s confession, and for not running away from his problem, God saw to it that he was reconciled with his brother, and then with his father. The following two verses are vivid illustrations of the reconciliation that happened:
Genesis 33:4 “But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.”
Genesis 35:29 “Then he (Isaac) breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”
We, too, can be reconciled with our family members when we confess of our sins, and face our conflicts.
Rev. Francis Neil G. The
February 25, 2019