Wait. What? Everything was going so well. Everyone was being so nice. There was crying and hugging and bowing and nice conversation and gifts. What happened?
As the mother of three sons, the show of affection and forgiveness between brothers – between Jacob and Esau – is heartwarming, to say the least. A lifetime of hurt and anger melts away in one authentic moment of humility: Esau runs to meet Jacob. They embrace. They kiss. They weep. Esau takes interest in his sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.
There’s no belaboring the past. They both know what happened. The warmth of their actions are a demonstration of reconciliation. And that’s enough. There is a lesson here. Sometimes, we stubbornly want to hear certain words. We want our offender to grovel. We want proof of change. And our heart won’t be healed until we get it. Is it possible that we miss opportunities for reconciliation, because we’re more focused on the past – on the offense – than on this moment? It’s just something to think about.
Admittedly, the reunion in Genesis Thirty Three is superficial. No sooner do they dry their tears than Jacob deceptively goes his own way. It’s not a happily-ever-after ending. But still, there was tenderness. And even healing.
Most of us don’t live with our extended family. [thank goodness!] I don’t ask our sons or daughters-in-law to embrace every aspect of each other’s lives…or personalities. But we’re family. And that means something.
There have been times during extended family gatherings when I have thought the same thing that I thought when Jacob (once again) lied to his brother about where he planned to travel: “Wait. What? Everyone was being so nice. There was crying and hugging and nice conversation and gifts. What happened?”
The bottom line for me is this. I’m so thankful for moments of forgiveness…moments of humble acceptance…moments of true connection. Life has a way of tearing us down. Let’s focus on the good in each other and embrace opportunities to simply connect. Let’s do more hugging and less re-hashing. More forgiving and less stewing. More loving and less demanding.