Kiss and Make Up
That's really sad isn't it?
Especially since I'm a pastor and a big part of my job description has to do with people.
But, let's be honest, relationships - genuine relationships - are hard aren't they?
Particularly the relationships we didn't ask for. Like the ones with our parents, or our siblings.
Brothers seem to have a real hard time of it in the Bible, have you ever noticed this? Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and, well, all 11 other brothers!
In Genesis Chapter 32 and 33 an interesting thing occurs with regard to the relationship between Jacob and Esau however.
God commands Jacob to reconcile with his brother.
Kiss and make-up.
Then I will bless you and your transformation from Jacob to Israel can take place.
Sounds simple enough. Unless your Jacob. The last time he saw his brother Esau, murder was in the air. Esau was channeling Cain. Jacob had stolen the birthright and the blessing, and he was high-tailing it out of Dodge to save his skin. Now it's 20-some years later and God wants him to go back home and say he's sorry?
Thus ensues a wrestling match.
This wrestling match includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
First Jacob prays. Not any emotional, spiritual prayer, but a prayer of desperation; a prayer in which Jacob demands that God do what God has said God would do; a prayer for God to save his hide. We should take notes. The Old Testament if full of such prayers. Take Psalm 13 as an example:
1 How long will you forget me, Lord? Forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long will I be left to my own wits,
agony filling my heart? Daily?
How long will my enemy keep defeating me?
3 Look at me!
Answer me, Lord my God!
Restore sight to my eyes!
Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I won!”
My foes will rejoice over my downfall. – Psalm 13.1-4 (CEB)
"Look at me?" For real? King David has some nerve.
Yet these are our models. Do you ever pray like this? Sometimes when we're wresting with God, we need to get right to the point. No beating around the bush. Say it like it is. God's a big God and can take it.
Maybe you have experienced or are experiencing a rift in a relationship. It's painful. You ran out. You left. You never had a chance to say I'm sorry or even I hate you. Maybe before God can do much more in your life, God needs you to kiss and make-up.
God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. God reconciled God's self to us, and God requires that we reconcile ourselves to our brothers and sisters (II Cor. 5).
Jesus said, don't even bring your gift to the altar until you make things right with that one that you're loathing ... "unadulterated loathing. For your face. Your voice. Your clothing" ... sorry, somehow Wicked got stuck in my head there for a minute (Matthew 5).
It starts with prayer. Desperate prayer. Fervent prayer (James 5.16). Prayer that demands that God do what only God can do because you can't do it on your own.
Next entry I will look at perseverance and why it takes dedication and stick-to-itiveness in order to get from God all you need to be able to do this seemingly impossible task of reconciling.