I love when Jacob and Esau reunite. When Jacob and Esau were last together, Jacob was stealing Esau’s blessing. His mother and he were following a plan of deception with included wearing clothing to disguise the truth, and cooking food to carry out the bad intentions. Yes, it was all a part of the youngest son ruling the oldest, as was spoken before these men grew to this point; however, the deception was present and emotions were high. Esau wanted to kill Jacob.
Jacob was fearful of Esau and took off for another area directed by his mother. When Esau was nearby, Jacob separated his family into sections and sent forth a large gift. Esau doesn’t seem angry at all. He doesn’t seem like the same Esau who threatened Jacob’s life. Instead he comes forward with a smile and an embrace. Jacob says that Esau’s smile “is like seeing the face of God!”
Wow. The face of God. Esau’s smile was like the face of God because it was grace-filled. It was compassionate and merciful. Esau did not approach wanting the vengeance he once desired. He came with forgiveness. When people see you today, will they say it is “like seeing the face of God” or something very different? Remember, we are to bring Jesus everywhere we go—forgiveness, love, mercy, grace, compassion, humility—everywhere we go.
“But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God!’” – Genesis 33:10 [NLT]
I laugh so often when I read the Book of Jonah. There are so many eye opening moments in this book that have certainly convicted and humbled me. Some people will focus how Jonah finally followed God’s command and went to Ninevah. Some people will focus on the how the people of Ninevah repented and changed their ways. I like what happens just after the Ninevites hear the message and believe. They fast.
Right after that God relented. When he did it made Jonah angry. He was not happy that God was forgiving of these people. They were “bad” people. They did wrong. The Bible says that Jonah then went and plopped himself nearby and “waited to see what would happen to the city.” That part gets me every time. What was he waiting for? Was he waiting to see if they messed up again so he can say, “Hey God, look I told you they were bad people and you were wrong to forgive them”? Was he waiting to see if perhaps God would change his mind (which is not possible)?
There are moments in our lives when we do this too. We get angry at the injustice in the world—and there is much of it. We speak with unforgiving lips. We act as the judge. Imagine each person who committed those wrongs finding forgiveness. God relented. They accepted Jesus and have been redeemed—but what about what they did? What about the rape, murder, adultery, lies, theft??? What about……. You can sit just outside watching and hoping that others pay for what they have done, or you can receive God’s forgiveness and show that same forgiveness to others.
“Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city.” – Jonah 4:5 [NLT]
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant can teach us all a great lesson about forgiveness. This lesson is geared toward elementary school children. The goal is to teach the children more about the topics of mercy and forgiveness and to encourage children to forgive and show mercy to others. The front page of this lesson provides a definition of mercy, a key verse, and breaks down God’s forgiveness. The second page is a fill-in sheet to be used with a discussion after reading Matthew 18:21-35 with the group. The activity/craft period of this lesson will be used to brainstorm how we can be better at forgiving. We will then make an art project or card for someone who we want to bless, someone who we may need to forgive for something or someone who we have forgiven in the past.
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