Today’s Scripture:  “1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.”  Genesis 33:1-4

Introduction:

Well…here we are still working at bringing this series to a close.  Between work and family things that have been going on lately I haven’t been able to really focus on this series as much as I would’ve liked, and I am sorry that it’s dragged on this long.  There were some breaks that I was really led by the Holy Ghost to take, but we are going to finish up this series this week.  The target date for the final message is August 1…and we’re going to keep that date.

So…let’s get into today’s message…and see what the Lord would have to say to us today.

Today’s Message:

When reading this passage, one might think, “That is so nice. The brothers are excited to see each other.” But the truth about the entire matter is that Jacob betrayed Esau in a mighty way. Jacob took everything from Esau. And after that betrayal, Jacob hit the road and never looked back.

Have you ever wondered what thought processes Esau went through to get to this place of forgiveness? The Bible doesn’t mention how Esau forgave Jacob for his betrayal. We just know he did. We know he did because the first time Esau saw Jacob, he ran for him and embraced him. Esau was able to forgive him and not kill him like we thought he would. Esau forgave Jacob, ran to him and embraced him before Jacob could even say, “I am so sorry for what I did to you.”

Why can’t we follow Esau’s example? Why do we hold onto hurt?

Forgiveness is hard isn’t it?  Especially when we are completely in the right to be upset.  While the writer of this devotion tries to understand the thought process that brought Esau to a place where he was able to forgive Jacob…my thought process is different.  My thought process goes to trying to imagine what would happen in today’s world if something like this happened to anyone of us.  I mean I don’t know about you, but some times it’s hard for me to reach that far back and imagine anything.  I can…however…try to think about how something like what Jacob did to Esau would go in today’s word.

Why?  Because today’s world is about seeking our own vengeance and payback instead of doing like Esau did…and completely forgave Jacob.  I have to be honest with you in the fact that there was a time that had someone ripped me off like that I am certain that I wouldn’t have been so quick to forgive and forget…but God’s done a lot of work in my heart when it comes to this area too.  Yes…I can be honest enough to admit that there was a time when I wasn’t so easy and quick to forgive, but that’s changed.  I’m still learning to “turn the other cheek”, and to forgive without holding any kind of grudge at all.  After all…the love of God that’s shed abroad in my heart is a love that bears no record of wrongs done to it…and I can honestly say that I’m getting better at forgiving like God has forgiven me…completely…perfectly…and without condition.

Why can’t we follow Esau’s example? Why do we hold onto hurt?

I think we do this because we don’t look at forgiveness correctly. We judge ourselves from a horizontal stance when we should be judging ourselves from a vertical one. You see, we think things like, “I’m not so bad compared to her.” Maybe our particular sins aren’t as bad as someone else’s, but they are still sin, friend. And when we choose to harbor unforgiveness, we are deliberately disobeying God.

The Bible talks about looking at the speck in someone else’s eye while there’s a big old log sticking out of yours.  It also talks about how people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Finally it says that our Heavenly Father will forgive us to the same degree that we forgive others.  I don’t know about you, but that last one about God forgiving me to the same degree that I forgive others gives me motivation to make sure that my heart is correct towards others because I want my heart to be correct with and towards God.

Unforgiveness is a horrible thing to hold on to because I believe unforgiveness and bitterness are linked to cancer.  I think that the more we hold on to bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness the more that stuff eats on us on the inside…the more likely it is going to eventually give way to actual physical sickness.  I have no real proof…I’m not a doctor…and I can’t really prove that…but that’s just my opinion.

The other side to this is something that I am glad Mrs. Beall brought up this thought of:  “At least I’m not as bad as so and so.”  Friends…that is a horrible attitude to have as Christians because there’s no right within us to judge what so and so did because so and so could probably turn around and point to something in our lives and say at least I’ve not done or I’m not doing what you’ve done.  See…friends…I don’t know about anyone else’s life…but when it comes to mine…I know exactly what I’ve done in my life…and therefore there’s no right or reason for me to ever point a finger at someone else to say that at least I didn’t do what they’ve done…because what God’s forgiven and given me grace for is just as bad…I needed the grace, mercy, and Blood of Jesus to cleanse me just as much as anyone else…so pointing out a speck in someone else’s eye really isn’t a loving thing to do.

No…friends…I believe one of the greatest things we can do is keep in our minds the old saying that whenever we point a finger at someone else we have three fingers and a thumb pointed back at us.  I prefer to look in the mirror before I look at someone else’s life.  I’ve no right to judge anyone’s life because mine is certainly worthy of being judged as well.

Jesus Christ was the only perfect person and will be the only perfect person. When we measure ourselves in light of his standard, we will always fall short. No matter how big or how small we think our sins may be, they still separate us from God without a Savior.

Amen.  There was only ONE person who has ever walked this earth and has the right to point a finger or throw a stone.  What grace Jesus put on display for all to read about in the story of the woman caught in adultery.  It’s often missed that by the time all those who brought her put their stones down and walked away…the only One left was the ONLY One who had a right to stone her.  What did He do?  If you don’t know…maybe you should take some time to read that story.  He extended to her His amazing grace…and that’s what we ought to do as well.

Friends…whenever someone gossip’s to us about what so and so has done…we shouldn’t participate in the gossip, but lovingly point out that they are in the process of sinning just by gossiping…and they need to repent and plead the Blood of Jesus.  “No matter how big or small we think ours sins may be…they still separate us from God without a Savior.”

Thank God for the Blood.  Thank God for His grace and mercy.  Lord…that we may learn to extend that grace and mercy that’s been extended to us to others…Amen!?!

Friend, you do not need anyone’s participation or permission to forgive them. Pastor Jimmy Evans says that “forgiving someone is the most self-loving thing you can do.” Forgiveness is for you, not the other person.

Are you harboring bitterness and unforgiveness?  Then let me just point out that you are placing yourself in the position that only God belongs.  We need to remember that if we have an ought with our brother…then we have no right to go before a Holy God and ask Him for anything…until we are willing to lay down the offense and make things right with those we hold bitterness and unforgiveness against.  If you think I’m wrong…then let me close this message by telling you that I’m not the one who said that…Jesus did…and just so you don’t think I’m making it up…this is what Jesus said about holding onto unforgiveness and approaching the Father:

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Points for Pondering:

Today…there is only one point for pondering.  One thing to meditate upon…and I would like to urge you to really take time to consider this point…and then follow-up with what’s suggested next.

  • Do you forgive easily or harbor unforgiveness?

Be A Doer Not Just A Reader:

  • Spend some time asking God to reveal to you why you forgive others easily or why you can’t seem to let things go.

Conclusion & Prayer:

Friends…we simply must learn to forgive quickly and easily.  Why?  For the simply truth and fact of that’s the way God forgives us…quickly…easily…and most importantly…He forgives us completely…and we need to learn to be just like our Daddy…if you’re holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness or if you’re not sure if you are or not…then I’d like to urge you to make this prayer of mine…a prayer of yours as well.

Heavenly Father…I thank You for this message on forgiveness.  Lord…I don’t want to hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness so if there’s any of that in my life…I would ask that You would reveal those to me…and I’d also ask that You’d reveal why or where there are areas of my heart that make it so that I refuse to extend forgiveness, grace, and mercy.  Show me my heart…and help me to get to a place where I extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness as quickly, as easily, and as completely as You do.  I want to be like You…Lord…in every way I can…and I know this is an area that I need to surrender…and learn to be more like You in…and I ask…Lord God…that You would continue to work in my heart on this very thing…and help me to grow up and mature in the area of bitterness and unforgiveness.  If there are those whom I need to forgive…bring them before me…and help me to extend the forgiveness I need to extend to them…so that my heart will not only be right with them…but more importantly You.  In Jesus’ name I pray…Amen & Amen.