This is the final entry in a series based on the Six Steps of Granting Forgiveness.
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers, and though they were competitors from birth, they were still brothers. Yet, Jacob seemed to not prize that relationship as much as he coveted the blessings that their parents had to give. Jacob schemed to get Esau’s inheritance. He took advantage of Esau, he tricked his father, and he stole what was his brother’s.
Fleeing his brother’s wrath, Jacob spent many years away, and during that time was shown how he stands before God – guilty sinner, freely forgiven, richly blessed in spite of himself.
Jacob eventually returns home, but on the way his servants report that they are about to run into Esau. Jacob is worried, makes plans to protect his family and people, but when he meets his brother, he does not encounter anger. Esau embraces him, weeps with joy, expresses his forgiveness to his brother, and wants to help him.
In short, he reconciles with him.
To reconcile with someone is to restore a broken relationship. It is the goal of forgiveness. The sixth step in the Six Steps of Granting Forgiveness is summed up the word “reconciliation”:
6. Work toward reconciliation
Reconciliation was God’s goal in sending the Savior. 2 Corinthians 5 says, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ Jesus, not counting men’s sins against them.” You see how God’s forgiveness and his goal of reconciliation with us are tied together.
Reconciliation ought to be the goal of our forgiveness as well. Yet, how often don’t we say we forgive someone, but we don’t really act like we want to restore the relationship. We speak the words, but we’re still interested in getting something out of the other person, or seeing some kind of change in them before they get to see a change in us.
God does not treat us that way. He chose to forgive us long before we ever showed any hint of wanting to be forgiven. He chose to turn his anger of our sin away from us and onto Jesus, so that we don’t need to change to become right with him. He makes us right with him, and that changes us.
So now, when you forgive, be it a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend, a sibling, whomever, what will be your focus? Make it about restoring the relationship. Make that your goal, and when you express your forgiveness, follow it up with an effort to reconcile.