Differences and disagreements very often destroy relationships including marriages and friendships. No matter how much we try to maintain peaceful relationship, at the end of day we still sometimes face conflicts. And we often come to the conclusion that the only way to maintain good relationship with those who are very “touchy” is to suppress our personalities and opinions when we are in conversation with them or totally avoid them. But God’s Word instructs us to be ambassadors of peace always. Our thought for our reflection this morning is, “Our God, Being a God of Peace Wants Us also to be at Peace with Everyone.”
“He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys”
(Genesis 31:1 3-16)
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
To be at peace or to reconcile means to make right or harmonize a strained relationship. And any attempt to make peace involves change of attitude and action. From Jacob’s action which is recorded in Genesis 31:13-16, we come to know two more important lessons on peaceful conflict resolution or reconciliation!
1. Positive action precedes peaceful reconciliation.
Jacob sent a variety of animals to Esau, thinking that Esau would understand his change of attitude and good will. He sincerely hoped that Esau would accept those gifts, forgive him and peacefully reconcile with him. For he thought,
“I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.”
Thus Jacob’s main motivation for his positive action was not just to pacify Esau but also to show him glimpses of his penitence and desire to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict between them. Have we ever attempted to do good to those who have been at loggerheads with us?
2. Personal preparation precedes peaceful reconciliation.
The Bible says that after sending away his flock Jacob spent the night there, alone,
“So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.
Following that we read,
“After he had sent them (family) across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone….”
(Genesis 32: 23-24a)
We read later that his time alone gave him the opportunity to have a spiritual encounter with God which turned out to be a life changing experience. Before attempting to reconcile with someone, do we spend time with God, asking him to show us our own follies which could have strained our relationships?
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
Let us decide to do good to those with whom we have a strained relationship. May we spend more time in God’s presence to know where we have gone wrong! Let’s pray:
“Dear Lord, give me the grace to live in peace with everyone. Teach me to do good to those who have strained relationships with me. Help me to spend quality time with you to know my own weaknesses and follies. Prepare me spiritually so that living in peace with everyone and reconciliation wouldn’t be difficult for me.
In Jesus’ name,... Amen!”