Pruning • Forgiveness
Richie Henson | Production Director
I have always loved the quote from the late Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, “It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” As a young man, I often used this quote to justify all sorts of foolish activity such as racing shopping carts and riding our bikes to go to get slushies at midnight. However, as I get older, and experience greater maturity, I realize how difficult it is to truly ask for forgiveness. It is not simply to say I am sorry, but to express my understanding of how I have wronged another and to attempt to make amends through humility.
This concept of true forgiveness has proven to be one of the more difficult hurdles in my family life. As a teenager, I became consumed with grudges and anger towards those who wronged me. I felt that justice was required for every offense both big and small. This poor attitude and perspective also found its way into my early marriage. It is truly a stumbling block that I must continually give to Jesus to overcome.
In the story of Jacob, beginning in Genesis chapter 32, we see that Jacob is asked by God to return to his homeland thereby putting him in direct contact with his estranged brother Esau. Jacob toils with the choice of facing his brother whom he has greatly wronged and eventually gives in to the will of God and goes to confront Esau. In my mind, this would be a perfect place in the story for Esau to unleash the rage of years gone by and exact justice against Jacob.
However, Genesis 33:1-4 tells us, “And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. And he put the servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”
What a beautiful scene depicted for us here. Two brothers torn apart by their past are reunited. Jacob is distraught by his past actions and knows Esau has every right to be angry, but Esau has taken the time to deal with the grief of Jacob stealing his birth right and he can embrace his brother in forgiveness.
We, as Christians, have all experienced a similar moment of total forgiveness. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God’s forgiveness comes freely and immediately. Although we are broken over our wrong doing, God shows nothing but forgiveness. It is my hope that as we continue to grow in the understanding of God’s forgiveness of our sins, we will be able to extend and teach our families the same kind of generous forgiveness that Esau expresses here.