SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK - GENESIS 32:6-1 AND 33:1-12
This powerful and important story is often overlooked. Jacob had deceived his father and cheated his brother out of his inheritance. Many years later Jacob is returning to his homeland. His brother is coming to meet him with 400 armed men. Jacob fears for his life and rightly so. He tries to appease his brother by sending gifts on ahead of him. They finally come face to face. What will happen? Will Esau kill his scoundrel of a brother? Will he take revenge on him? This is what should happen in the realm of normal human dealings. It does not. Esau forgives Jacob and does not even want the generous make-up gifts.
Nice story. But wait, what has really happened here? Jacob is the bearer of the blessing for all humanity. Jacob is the child of the promise. Had Esau killed Jacob, God's plan would to save His creation would be in serious trouble. But for forgiveness, the divine plan would be in jeopardy. How appropriate, for in the end the salvation of the world depends on forgiveness - the forgiveness of God.
This is why Jesus insists on forgiveness in Matthew's Gospel. It is a critical part of God's plan. We are forgiven sinners and like Esau we are called upon to forgive those who have sinned against us as well.
"'Nothing we do, no matter how virtuous, can be accomplished alone. Therefore we are saved by love"