FACING OUR FAILURES
- Key Verse
- Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. (Genesis 33:4)
- READ THE CHAPTER
We often find it difficult to face up to our past failures, even when we realize that, by ignoring the past, we are damaging our future. When we grasp the courage to face our failures, we can find forgiveness, restoration, and a future no longer limited by our past.
ReflectionsDo you find, as I do, that you fear the unknown? Sometimes, however, we fear the known even more. This fear is especially strong when we know we have to face our past mistakes and failures. I often want to keep the past hidden, or at least ignore it, even though I realize I am only masking the problem by failing to confront it. I am really not good at apologizing, much less accepting the blame. My wife can attest to this, but thanks to ReEngage, I am getting better. While we may not intend to hurt someone else, we often do, and failure to face the reality of this hurts not only the other person, but it hurts us, too. The casual curt reply, the intentional snub, and the gossip that makes us look or feel better all weigh us down until our relationships are shallow or even destroyed.
Jacob did not just innocently hurt Esau. He had not only taken Esau's birthright, but he had also tricked his own father into giving him the blessing meant for his older brother. Then Jacob fled the country because he was afraid of Esau's wrath. Jacob had reason to assume that Esau would take every opportunity to cause him hurt and pain if given the opportunity. After years of fearing Esau, holding onto his own pain, and being hurt by others, Jacob decided to return to the promises God had given him. Once Jacob returned to the life God wanted for him, he experienced more of God's provision. When Jacob approached Esau, he came seeking forgiveness and restoration. What he did not expect is that God had already changed Esau's heart, and Esau was ready to meet Jacob with the acceptance and forgiveness that Jacob not only desired, but desperately needed.
I have experienced that when we acknowledge the hurts we have caused along with the hurts we have received and seek God's forgiveness and restoration, God will work miracles in our lives.
Discussion Questions1. Have you found yourself fearing something you did in the past, someone you hurt, or someone who hurt you?
2. What problems has this fear caused for you? What problems has it caused for your relationship with that person and others around you?
3. Have you faced up to the hurt you have caused others, brought it to God, and then to the person you hurt?
4. Have you recognized that others have hurt you, brought it to God, and then to the other person?
Now the Lord said to Abram,
"Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father's house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."