December 13, 2019 ● 19-37
Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. (Gen. 33:4)
Twin brothers Jacob and Esau had been estranged from one another for twenty years because Jacob tricked their father Isaac into giving him the blessing of the firstborn instead of Esau. Esau was so angry at his brother that he planned on killing his brother after their father had died (Gen. 27:41) But when Jacob and Esau met after twenty years, Jacob discovered that God had changed Esau’s heart, and Esau no longer bore a grudge. God is honored when relationships are restored. The restoration of a broken relationship is the story of Christmas because Jesus came to restore man’s relationship with God that had been broken in the garden of Eden.
When it comes to restoring relationships, there are five important questions we must ask ourselves in order to gain a proper understanding of the importance of restoration:
1. Why is restoration necessary?
The word ‘restore’ means to bring something back to the way it used to be. Broken relationships result in separation. When man sinned in the Garden of Eden by eating of the forbidden fruit, he was thrown out of the garden and separated from God (Gen. 3).
2. What is required for restoration?
Someone must take the first step towards restoration. We think if we take the first step, then we have somehow lost, that we have given in, that we are perceived as being weak. Restoration is not about winning or losing, it is about being obedient to God and honoring Him in our lives.
3. How does restoration take place?
For restoration to take place, we must be willing to be restored. When we refuse to be restored, we are denying God’s desire for us to be restored in our relationships with one another. Restoration takes place when we not only take the first step, but when we accept the offer of restoration from someone else. In fact, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation which is what restoration is all about (2 Cor. 5:17-19).
4. When do we restore?
As soon as possible. It is a sad day when, at the funeral of a loved one, I hear friends and family members regretting not setting right a broken relationship with the person that had died. All the tears and flowers and regrets will not and cannot take the place of a relationship that could have been mended long before it was too late.
5. Where does restoration take place?
Restoration is a work of the heart, the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life of the believer. Notice back in Gen. 32 how Jacob prayed that the meeting with Esau would go well, and it did. In fact, it went better than expected. Restoration is a work of the heart because the heart is the seat of our emotions. It is our hearts that God is going to work on when it comes to any type of restoration.
If there are relationships in your family, either between family members or friends, take the steps that Jacob and Esau took as an example:
- Pray and ask God for wisdom and guidance.
- Take the first step.
- Allow yourself to be restored.
- Let go of grudges.
- Make sure God is honored every step of the way.