Jacob placed his family ahead of him as they traveled toward Esau. He bowed down to the ground seven times until he came to Esau who asked about the people accompanying him. Jacob answered, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant . . . and to find favor in the sight of my lord” (Gen. 33:1-8). Showing respect and humility face-to-face go a long way in restoring relationships with an offended party.
Jacob asked that Esau take his present while reasoning, "for I see your face as one sees face of God and you have received me favorably. Take my gift because God has dealt graciously with me, and I have plenty.” Esau accepted the gift and passed on ahead while Jacob journeyed to Succoth and built a house (Gen. 33:9-18). When you spend time with God, you see Him in others as motivation to give generously to them.
Jacob bought land for 100 pieces of money in Shechem where he pitched his tent. He erected an altar and called it the God of Israel (Gen. 33:19-20). Acknowledging God in tough circumstances provides the necessary foundation and anchor for your life.
Gen. 33 demonstrates forgiveness and reconciliation, but Gen. 34 shows just the opposite.
Shechem raped Dinah, Leah's daughter of Leah, even as he was attracted and spoke tenderly to her. When Jacob's sons heard Dinah was defiled, they became very angry. Shechem’s father, Hamor, wanted intermarriage between the families. He said Jacob’s family could live with them in the land, trade and acquire property. Hamor asked how much bridal payment and gift to give so his daughter could get married Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and Hamor with deceit by demanding them to be circumcised, which seemed reasonable to them (Gen. 34:1-18). Unresolved hurts lead to deceitful speech that negatively affect the welfare of others.
Hamor and Shechem as Hamor was more respected than all the household of his father. Everyone listened to them. On the third day after being circumcised, Simeon and Levi killed every male including Hamor and Shechem and looted the city and their families while stealing all their wealth (Gen. 34:19-29). Unforgiveness causes irresponsibility so you take what does not belong to you.
Jacob said that his sons "brought trouble making me odious among inhabitants of land and they will gather against me to attack and destroy our household" Jacob's son responded, "Should he treat our sister as a harlot?" (Gen. 34:30-31) Unforgiving spirit damages your testimony and makes you a stench to unbelievers.
Untruth and deceit break relationships resulting in unforgiveness, unreconciliation and disunity. Open and honest communication build relationships resulting in forgiveness, reconciliation and unity. The former causes societal chaos and violence. Unforgiveness causes a stench and damages your testimony before others. so you become loathsome and hateful to others. Forgiveness and unity lead to peace on earth and good will toward men.
Meditate on 2 Cor. 2:14-16. Are you an aroma of life or death? For any broken relationship, take the initiative to forgive and reaffirm your love for them (2 Cor. 2:7-8).