Sunday, 28 January 2001 00:00

The Kiss of Reconciliation

Genesis 33:4 (KJV)

And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

Let's compare some verses—"And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing, and said in his heart, 'I will slay my brother Jacob'" (Genesis 27:41). "And Rebekah said, 'Behold, thy brother Esau... doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee'" (Genesis 27:42). "And Esau ran to meet him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept" (Genesis 33:4).

How do two brothers, one wanting to kill, and the other to hide, get to the place that when they meet for the first time since the estrangement, they "kiss" each other and weep? How do two people, at odds with each other, get to the place of reconciliation?

  1. It commences with a desire in the heart...
    "Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother" (32:11). Jacob had come to the place where he desired above all else to reconcile with his brother. But he knew that in order for it to happen, it would require the work of God in his brother's heart.
    1. When you pray for reconciliation, trust His promises.
      "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good" (32:12).
    2. When you pray for reconciliation, rest in His will.
      Unless God changes the heart of the perosn with whom you wish to reconcile, it is most likely reconciliation will not be possible. Trust that He is still very good.
  2. It continues with a spirit of humility...
    You start by asking God to do his part, but then you must do your part. Your part is to recognize the role humility, servanthood, and giving play in reconciling lives.
    1. In soft language... "thy servant Jacob;" "my lord (master) Esau" (32:18).
    2. In kind preference... "and he bowed himself to the ground seven times" (33:3).
    3. In gracious giving... "it is a present sent unto my lord Esau" (32:18).
  3. It culminates in no more blame...
    When Jacob bows himself to the ground in a spirit of humility and his brother Esau kisses him and weeps, Esau looks up and asks, "What meanest thou by all this drove that I met?" Jacob had sent ahead hundreds of goats, camels, cows, bulls. Jacob says, "These are to find grace in the sight of my lord" (Genesis 33:8). It is then that Esau makes probably one of the greatest statements in all of the Old Testament:
    "I have enough." (33:9)

    When you are able to forget the hurts of the past, rest in God's providence and cease blaming others for what you don't have, you will live at "peace with all men." But what if the offence is a terrible one? "How terrible are my sins before God?"


"If you are suffering from a bad man's injustice, forgive him, lest there be two bad men." (Augustine)

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