OVER WHAT AM I UPSET?
He [Jacob] himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. Genesis 33:3
When I’ve wronged someone, I can have many reactions. Picking one, I can obsess over the wrong thing. Am I upset about what I did? Am I upset because the other person is angry? Am I upset because the consequences seem out of line with the offense?
I see the miracle of Jacob bowing down to Esau after all that has transpired between them. They were never close, not even as children. Yet now, Jacob treats him as one treats a royal in Near Eastern culture. In court protocol, one bows seven times, refers to himself as a servant, calls the royal ‘lord’, and brings gifts of homage. Jacob did all these things.
When I’ve wronged someone, it is easy to be more upset about their response than my own sin. Not knowing what to do with their anger, I am tempted to hide. Jacob didn’t have the luxury. God told him to return to Canaan and to obey, he had to pass through Esau’s territory. There was no escaping the reunion. What is astounding though is that when Jacob sees Esau, he doesn’t defend himself in any way nor does he blame Esau for the seething anger he felt.
When God is the One I’ve offended, I can have complicated reactions. Instead of remorse, I can be angry that God is displeased. I can condemn his law and call it unreasonable. Who am I to judge the One who is righteous? Am I arrogant enough to think He’s making a mountain out of a molehill? Do I dare say to a holy God, “What’s the big deal? I was just doing __________!” Even if I don’t say it, do I feel this way?
There is one more complicated reaction. I can be angry because God’s forgiveness is so radical. While it would seem this is good news, if I despise myself, I will be angry when God wants to forgive yet I want to punish myself and make myself pay over the course of a lifetime.
It will do me well to remember court protocol when I’ve sinned. I come before the throne in prayer and bow low. I call Him, “Lord”, and refer to myself as His servant. I bring Him the gifts of my heart and my service.
If God is at a distance because of sin, over what are you upset today? It would be good to isolate the reason because anything other than remorse puts your relationship in cobwebs. Satan is always nearby to weave the strands and encourage estrangement.
Your reactions to me are always holy. I am always Your servant. Amen
Journal Question: Are you experiencing distance with God because of a certain issue? Ask God to help you sort out the cobwebs of your heart. Find out where you are in the wrong and make things right. You’ll be glad you did.