Reconcile-Are you ready? Reconciliation can be very difficult. We have been hurt. We have a strong opinion on what is right, and we don’t want to let it go. Yet, all throughout scripture we are called to reconcile. Honestly though, there are times when I just don’t want to reconcile. This becomes a struggle within my heart.
Reconciliation begins in the heart. Reconcile, a book written by Paul Lederach has me thinking about our willingness to reconcile (2014). In the book the author reminds us of the story of Jacob and Esau. In a nut shell, Jacob stole Esau’s birthright. Jacob then fled for his life. (Head to Genesis for the entire story). I’ll share with you the end of the story where their reconciliation takes place.
1-4 Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his four hundred men. He divided the children between Leah and Rachel and the two maidservants. He put the maidservants out in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. He led the way and, as he approached his brother, bowed seven times, honoring his brother. But Esau ran up and embraced him, held him tight and kissed him. And they both wept. (Genesis 33 MSG).
I think the first thing Esau had to ask himself is, “Am I ready to forgive my brother and reconcile this relationship?” That’s a big question that requires sincere thought. Jacob had to decided that he wanted to ask for forgiveness and reconcile. What happens in the heart is similar, yet different. So, I’m going to focus on Esau. Could you forgive Jacob? This is a deep wound Esau had to face. What Jacob did changed the course of his life, and yet he chose reconciliation. This moment in scripture overwhelms me. It reminds me how hard this is.
Esau has taught me three things that I need to be willing to do to reconcile with someone who has hurt me. They all have to do with my heart.
1. I have to be willing to come to the table.
2. I have to let go of being right and choose relationship.
3. I have to turn towards the other person which means I have to become vulnerable.
These seem somewhat easy and straight forward, but not so much. The first thing is to decide that I’m willing to even consider reconciliation. I’m willing to entertain the thoughts. I begin to see that my heart could be free if I do.
Then I have to decide that the relationship is more important than being right. It is so easy to stand on justice and the knowledge that I’m right. However, that doesn’t bring healing. It actually begins to build walls and hardens our hearts towards others. All others including God, begin to be held at a distance. Our standing on what is right can affect our ability to trust.
Once I decide it is worth it to choose the relationship, I have to turn toward the other person. This leaves me with a sense of vulnerability. I could get hurt again. What if this person isn’t really after reconciliation? This vulnerability requires a lot of trust. Ultimately, it requires trusting God and His purposes. Am I going to trust God’s desire for reconciliation enough to trust Him with my heart? Really, that is what we are doing. We are trusting God more than ourselves or the other person. We are trusting God to care for our heart and not the other person. When we can do that, healing can take place.
So, are you ready? Who do you need to reconcile with; a family member, employer, the church? Grudges and hurt carry a lot of weight and become heavier and heavier. Is it time to lose the weight? Share your stories of reconciliation. We have much to learn from each other.