There are two little words that we often find hard to say, yet they have the power to quell many a quarrel and end many a fight. When uttered with humility and authenticity, they offer a glimmer of hope and the possibility of change. These two little words are simple, yet strong: I’m sorry.
As tough as it can be to bring ourselves to a place of repentance, often times, it is more challenging to find capacity in our hearts to give up a grudge, overlook an offense, and forgive the one at fault – especially when there is no evidence of remorse or authentic repentance.
I would imagine that Jacob found this to be the case, too.
After leaving home, Jacob went to live with his Uncle Laban. It was there that he fell head-over-heels in love with Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel. So deep was Jacob’s love for her, that he agreed to spend seven years working for his uncle in exchange for her hand in marriage. However, when the wedding day finally arrived, Laban deceived his future son-in-law. Under the cover of darkness, he gave his older daughter, Leah, to Jacob as his bride.
Undoubtedly stunned and angered by this egregious act of deception, Jacob confronted his uncle: “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.” And Jacob did so. (Genesis 29:25b-28a)
Laban offered no apology – no evidence of contrition, humility or repentance. Yet, Jacob didn’t escalate the argument, demand his rights, or wait for a demonstration of remorse. Instead, he chose to accept the injustice, and simply moved on with life.
Not all offenses can or should be overlooked. Yet, Jacob found that there are times when it is possible to extend grace, rather than seek justice… times when it Is to “one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).
As peacemakers, we are confronted with pivotal choices. When we are in the wrong, will we admit our fault or will we rationalize our actions? When we are wronged, will we fight back or will we forgive?
Whether we need to be brought to the point of repentance or to the point of forgiveness, when we go to our Father and surrender everything to Him, He can help us sort through all that is in our hearts and take the (sometimes) difficult steps to restore a broken relationship. Do you long for peace? Walk the path.
Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries
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