July 14: Reconciling Bad Blood

Read Genesis 33:1-20

“But Esau ran . . .”

What ran through Jacob’s mind as he saw his brother running towards him? Jacob had prepared, even braced himself, for this encounter. The brothers, Esau and Jacob, you might recall, had a bad history. At a vulnerable moment of extreme hunger, Jacob had convinced his brother to exchange the privileges of his birth right for a bowl of stew. Later, in their father’s final days, Jacob pretended to be Esau and deceived their then blind father out of a blessing that Dad had not designed for him.

Although the two came from the same bloodline, there was bad blood between them. In fact, the last recorded words from the mouth of Esau prior to the encounter were . . . and I quote . . . “I will kill my brother Jacob!” (Gen. 27:41).

And now, Esau was running towards Jacob. Jacob must have looked at his brother’s hands. Was he carrying a weapon? He must have tried to examine his brother’s face. Did he look angry?

In anticipation of this day, Jacob had done all he knew to protect his family and pacify his brother. He had divided the people and the livestock into two groups. In case of an attack, there was a greater chance that at least half would survive. Then he sent gift after gift in an attempt to find favor in his brother’s eyes.

But this was the moment of truth. Esau was running towards him. Was it to attack?  Would they engage in a wrestling match like the one Jacob had experienced with God the night before?

“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 NIV).

Phew! Rather than revenge, Jacob experienced acceptance and reconciliation.

Do you have a family member or former friend from whom you are estranged? Is there bad blood between you? Was your last encounter tense . . . perhaps even peppered with threats or ultimatums? What steps might you take today towards acceptance and reconciliation?


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