18 Oct Repairing the Damage
What an interesting idea reconciliation is—to willingly forgive, restore, and make right a relationship that has gone wrong. I do not believe it is a natural human instinct.
We’ve all been wounded in one way or another, often by the very people closest to us, and it has never been my first reaction to want to lovingly attempt to repair the damage. Instead, everything in me wants to turn inward burying that hurt so far down that it becomes unrecognizable even to myself. I did this for years. Like a child who cleans their room by desperately stuffing every last bit of clutter under the bed in an attempt to present it clean, I did the same to my own wounds, forcing them into the cracks of my soul so that the surface appeared smooth.
I found it possible to carry on day by day seemingly unaffected by this process. I did such a good job of burying those wounds that no one ever noticed them. I almost forgot about them myself. However, things with deep roots tend to grow, and over time I noticed the surface cracking. Holding onto my hurt allowed anger to plant itself in my heart, and it seeped out in ugly ways. The roots began to suffocate me.
“Holding onto my hurt allowed anger to plant itself in my heart, and it seeped out in ugly ways.”
In Genesis 33:1-20, we witness the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau: two brothers estranged for years with a rich history of betrayal, hatred, anger, and unmanaged wounds between them. God calls Jacob to return to the land of his birth and in order to do so he must cross paths with his brother. Jacob is riddled with fear at the thought of seeing his brother, thinking that Esau will surely bring him harm for the wrong he has done him, yet the passage conveys a different message. Upon their meeting in Genesis 33:4, “Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.” How is it possible that a relationship so incredibly broken could be repaired? In my life, I have found it only possible through Christ. The loving embrace of these two brothers who have been estranged for so long powerfully mirrors our relationship with God. Take into account the gaping division between a sinful people like us and a perfect, holy God who has made a relationship possible through the sacrifice of Christ. We were once estranged because of our sin, but on the cross, Jesus covered our brokenness with his blood, forgave our shortcomings, and welcomed us into the most beautiful, reconciled relationship of all.
“The loving embrace of these two brothers who have been estranged for so long powerfully mirrors our relationship with God.”
I see myself in this story of reconciliation. God took Jacob on a physical journey home that led to emotional, relational, and spiritual healing. He did the same for me, slowly uncovering the layers and crumbling the walls that I had built to protect myself along the way. He first reconciled me to himself and then to others. He brought me to a place of vulnerability, planted people in my path that spoke truth to me, and ultimately through the Holy Spirit equipped me with the courage to express outwardly the pain I kept bundled inside. The healing, freedom, and restored relationships as a result of the reconciliation in my life leave me in awe of a God so faithful and loving.
Walker is a 20-something in the process of exploring what comes after college. She’s a night owl which makes morning coffee her close companion, and likes to think of sugar as an essential food group. Walker attends our Downtown campus.