September 27, 2015

God’s Heart Beats With Reconciliation

Genesis 33:1-11

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud . . . . Do not be conceited.

—  Romans 12:16

If anyone had good reason to hold a grudge, it would be Jacob’s brother, Esau. Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright and his blessing; then he fled because Esau planned to kill him as soon as their father, Isaac, died.

Years later, after they both had wives and children, they met again, but Jacob was terrified that Esau still wanted to kill him. He sent messengers and lavish gifts ahead of him, hoping to appease his brother. But he need not have worried. As Jacob bowed before his ­brother, “Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.” Jacob responded, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.”

If we have also read the previous chapter, Jacob’s response may remind us that Jacob had just had an experience of seeing God face to face. Now Jacob saw a reflection of God in Esau through their reconciliation.

Paul calls us to live in harmony with other people, but we won’t always succeed. We will hurt others, even if we do so unintentionally. And others will hurt us. We will have misunderstandings. We will anger others and be angry at others. When we reconcile with another person after being at odds, we see God’s face, because God’s heart beats with reconciliation.

Reconciling God, thank you for reconciling the world to yourself in Christ. Thank you for making us Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation. Help me to reconcile today with anyone who has hurt me. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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