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Summer Devotional and Sermon Series

Week 8/Heroes: Jacob

The day of reckoning has arrived… Jacob and Esau are meeting face to face after 20 years of separation. Everything appears to go smoothly but has true forgiveness and reconciliation taken place? Hard to say. As I spent time reading about these two brothers, I found an article on biblical reconciliation written by Rick Ezell, a Baptist pastor in North Carolina. He outlines the steps to true reconciliation and I think they are worth sharing.

  1. Reconciliation begins with God. When we seek to enter God’s presence, He reveals those relationships that are broken and often prompts us to make them right. Food for thought: Don’t seek God unless you want to make things right with others.
  2. Reconciliation with others comes before reconciliation with God. You can’t live in harmony with your Heavenly Father unless you are living in harmony with your human brothers and sisters. Broken ties with one another not only sever relationships with one another; it also severs the relationship with God. Food for thought: Could it be that if you feel your worship is meaningless, your work ineffective and your prayers unanswered it is because you have not reconciled with your brother or sister?
  3. Reconciliation must be intentional. Restoring a cracked relationship is like mending a broken arm… it is not mended accidentally. They both require purposeful and intentional action. “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother” (Matthew 18:15) Food for thought: Could it be that some of our relationships are lived in grinding silence because we are unwilling to take the initiative in beginning the process of reconciliation?
  4. Reconciliation must be bathed in prayer. God needs to soften the hearts, to ease the emotions, to heal the wounds and to bring understanding to the reconciling parties. No better way for that change to happen than through prayer. Food for thought: How does your heart need to be softened to that healing in your broken relationships can occur?
  5. Reconciliation demands humility. Humility puts us into a position for reconciliation to occur. Every action in this process requires that someone in the hurting relationship, preferably both parties, admit their fault and their desire to repair the damage. Food for thought: What steps do you need to take that would communicate humility to the person you are estranged from?
  6. Reconciliation requires vulnerability. Here you reveal the hurt and pain you have caused… you admit you were wrong. True reconciliation will never happen until the heart is exposed. Food for thought: Do you want to go through life living in a cocoon safe from the hurtful arrows of others, but cut off from the relationships that give you love and joy?
  7. Reconciliation nears completion in forgiveness. Forgiveness involves letting go so you can get on with the rest of your life. It is not probation but rather a pardon. It means there will be no continuing resentments or bitterness. Food for thought: Is it time you let go of those past hurts?
  8. Reconciliation is finished in restitution. This means attempting to restore that which has been damaged or destroyed and also seeking justice whenever we have the power to act or to influence those in authority to act. Food for thought: In what ways do you need to restore that which you have damaged in the broken relationship?

As God has forgiven you, you are to forgive those who have hurt you. As God has reconciled with you, you are to reconcile with others.

Scripture

Genesis 33

Prayer

Healing damaged relationships is hard, Lord. We struggle with swallowing our pride and admitting that we are wrong. Guide us as we strive to live in harmony with each other and show us when we need to seek forgiveness when we have hurt someone. Amen