Forgiveness Takes Courage
Jacob didn't always make the best choices or do the right thing. But he finally took responsibility for his actions, learned from his mistakes, dealt with his fears, and trusted in God. As a result, his nature was transformed; his name was changed to Israel. Ultimately, he became the father and grandfather of the 12 Tribes of Israel.
How Jacob made a difference:
Because Jacob stole Esau's blessing, Jacob had to flee to his uncle's so Esau wouldn't kill him. But after several years and many struggles, Jacob was directed by God to go home. He would now have to confront Esau, who had previously wanted to kill him. How Jacob overcame his fear changed his nature.
- Jacob asked his brother for forgiveness. (Gen. 32:3-13)
- He wrestled with his concept of himself, his brother,
and God. And Jacob forgave himself for his part
in creating the division between himself and his
- He didn't let his fears stop him from moving forward
and meeting Esau. Jacob relied on God, rather than
his own strength, to save himself and his family.
As a result, when Jacob and Esau finally met, forgiveness
allowed for a peaceful and immediate reconciliation. (Gen
How you can make a difference:
This month's focus is on changing our own thoughts, experiences, and lives. The result will make a difference in others' experiences.
- Make a commitment to yourself that you won't let your fears control you.
- Write down 1-3 fears that you would like to
face or conquer.
- Create a plan on how to overcome these fears.
Prayer is very helpful.
- Follow through on your plan. Maybe it means
going on a roller coaster, learning to water
ski, singing in public, writing a story, forgiving
someone you've held a grudge against for a long
- Celebrate the fact that you faced a fear,
that you faced down the words, "I can't
- Is there someone you have hurt or wronged by something you said or did? Have you asked for his or her forgiveness?
- Be very honest with yourself.
- Take responsibility for what you did.
- Stop feeling burdened by guilt. Guilt reminds
us that we need to change something. But if
we hold onto it, it keeps us depressed.
- Forgive yourself. God loves you, so you can
love yourself. If you keep holding onto mistakes
you've made, you don't allow yourself to grow.
- Be humble.
- Go to that person and ask if she can find
it in her heart to forgive you.
- If the person does forgive you, that's
great! You can move forward together.
- If the person does not forgive you, she
will have to deal with her own anger. You
have done your part and can now move on
with a greater sense of peace knowing you
did the right thing.
- Is there someone who has hurt or wronged you?
Have you forgiven him or her?
- Stop replaying the scenario in your mind.
- Ask the person if he meant to hurt you. You
may be reacting incorrectly.
- Let go of your anger, frustration, or pain.
- Try to see the other person's side of the
story. You may not agree, but if you assume
the best from the other, it helps.
- Feel compassion towards that person.
- Go to that person and tell him that you forgive
- He may feel relieved. You may have released
him from the guilt he was feeling. As a
result, you can improve your relationship.
- He may not care or may not feel that he
has wronged you. But, again, you can move
forward knowing that you have forgiven.
And to have forgiven is indeed doing much. Forgiveness is a crucial part of the Lord's Prayer: "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt 6:12). We need to ask ourselves: "Am I truly forgiving others as God forgives me?" When we can answer, "Yes," then we will have given the gift of forgiveness that transforms lives.