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)
Just like the prodigal son (whom Jesus describes in Luke 15) became broken and repentant, so does Jacob. Just as the loving father forgives, embraces and weeps with the son, so Esau does with Jacob. It is a beautiful, beautiful picture of forgiveness. Deception was overcome by forgiveness. Stealing was overcome by forgiveness. Hurt was overcome by forgiveness. Anger was overcome by forgiveness. Pride was overcome by forgiveness.
Running away was overcome by forgiveness. Coming back together was facilitated by forgiveness. Forgiveness through Christ and toward each other is the great reconciler. Otherwise, we live life like men and women most miserable, still blaming others and lamenting over injustice inflicted on us and those we love. It’s not fair, because life hurts our idealism and optimism; however, to forgive is to be healed. So how do we forgive?
It begins with an encounter with God, as the originator of forgiveness embraces us. He is the one with limitless capacity to forgive. His forgiveness engulfs us with ability, a mandate and a reservoir of forgiveness. Because He has thoroughly forgiven us through Christ, we can and will forgive others for Christ’s sake. It is the essence of being a Christian. If you are a Christian, you forgive.
Why is this hard? One reason is our immature faith lacks a cure. Our focus is still on our needs and hurts, but God is calling us to forgive. It is a faith place of loving Him and loving people. When you choose to live by faith, you forgive. When you forgive, you trust that God is working to make you, and others, more like Jesus. Begin today. Let God embrace you; you embrace another, and then watch forgiveness do its work.
The Bible says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16a).
Who is the one I can forgive today and begin the process of healing?
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