See the Face of God

Esau said, What do you mean by all this company that I met?" Jacob answered, "To find favor with my lord." Esau said, "I have enough, my brother, keep what you have for yourself." Jacob said, "No, please; if i find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God - since you have received me with such favor. Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want." So he urged him, and he took it. Genesis 33:8-11 (NRSV)

Growing up, Jack Stanley, from Florida, was no saint - any more than Esau. His younger brother was not a devil - any more than Jacob. Like all siblings, they competed for time, affection, and family resources. For a while in high school, almost every day when they arrived home Jack would so frustrate his younger brother that he would start fights with Jack. Looking back, Jack realized that if the shoe had been on the other foot, he'd probably have done just as his brother did.

When his brother recently wrote to Jack for perhaps the third time expressing regret for his behavior in their younger years, Jack finally was mature enough to see what his brother had long needed from him. He needed the face of God looking back at him saying, ":Forget about it. It's done; it's over." Neither of them was an angel, so certainly his brother wasn't the only one who needed to apologize.

As if scales had fallen from Jack's eyes, he realized he needed to assure his brother that he was forgiven and that his reaching out to him helped Jack to move on. After all, he had done all the heavy lifting. Until we've asked for forgiveness from another, we can't imagine the sense of God's glory that comes when we extend ourselves this way in love.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for showing us how to forgive and for allowing us to see your glory when we do. Help us to be accepting of someone who asks forgiveness, in Jesus' name, amen.

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