Ever have conflict in your family? I’m trying to think of a family I’ve known where there hasn’t been any conflicts, but I don’t think they exist.
The Bible is filled with fractious families where children don’t get along, where parents act dishonorably or unethically and, even where violence (sexual and otherwise) is acted out.
People sometimes think the Bible is not relevant to modern life, but it’s filled with examples of people struggling terribly to resolve anger and conflict and find God’s will and healing power. We’ll talk Sunday about one of the great sibling rivalries in the Bible: two brothers, Jacob and Esau.
Their relationship is difficult for years, resulting in estrangement that breaks everyone’s heart for a while. Yet God moves within and between these two seemingly incompatible brothers. God works to bring reconciliation between conflicted people and offer us a way forward when we seem to get stuck.
Jacob has to learn to fight an aggressive tendency within himself. Can we recognize that part of ourselves that wants only what is in our best interest and pushes others away? Can we see through our own blind spots when we pursue our own desires in ways that damage members of our family? We know that God moves behind the scenes. God works to knit broken relationships back together when great hurt or even estrangement has occurred. Perhaps as Christians we learn to walk that path of reconciliation as Jesus taught us. Remember when he said, “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5: 22-24). We learn to take those initial steps towards someone. We learn how important these relationships are. We know that God is with us, both at the altar and in the act of reconciliation to help our words and our acceptance of each other.