Reconciliation—a word that slides so easily from our lips but is so difficult to practise in daily life. Most often, the path to reconciliation is a long one that requires something from all parties involved. On the part of the culprit, there must be remorse for his wrongdoing as well as the willingness to ask for forgiveness, and on the part of the victim there must be a willingness to accept the apology and forgive. Often, however, both conflicting parties bear some of the guilt, which does not make reconciliation any easier: who will take the first step? Who will be the first to overcome his pride and humble himself before the other? Who will take the risk, in some circumstances, of looking like a “weakling”?
The example of Jacob and Esau shows how reconciliation can succeed. At some point in time, Jacob decided he could no longer live in the condition of having to regard his brother as an enemy. He wanted reconciliation. How did he proceed? First he sought the help of God and turned to the Lord in prayer: “Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother.” Then he sent a portion of his possessions to Esau as a gift and as a sign of his desire to make amends. Esau at first refused his brother’s conciliatory gesture, saying, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” But when he recognized how serious Jacob was about reconciliation, he accepted Jacob’s gifts, and the two of them made peace.
Let us go about this with God—then reconciliation will become possible. Then we will succeed in humbling ourselves if we are in the role of Jacob. And if we are in the role of Esau, we will be able to overcome ourselves and accept the apology.