Week 8, Day 4

The Face of Reconciliation

If you have ever faced a disagreement with someone close to you that destroyed the relationship you once had, then you know what the “face of anguish” looks like. Every time you see them or think of the disagreement, you feel an inward pain and sorrow or, perhaps, anger. If neither of you makes an attempt at reconciliation, no matter whether the fault was yours, theirs, or both. You surely feel the pain. The face of anguish is a prison that each is in that keeps you from the peace that God offers us. Our own fear and pride are the prison bars that keep us from approaching this person to apologize. Perhaps your excuse is that, in your opinion, “It was all their fault anyway.” But that grudge doesn’t bring you peace, does it?

Well, let’s see what the “face of reconciliation” looks like and what it offers.

Genesis 37 tells us of Joseph, the second youngest son of Jacob, who is hated by his ten older brothers. Those older brothers planned to kill Joseph but had second thoughts when a caravan of merchants came by. They sold young Joseph to them as a slave, and he was taken away to Egypt. Joseph is totally separated from his family and probably feels he will never see home again.

But, as we continue to read, we find God was at work here all along. You see, Joseph served well in Egypt and was well-liked. Genesis 39:2 tells us, “The Lord was with Joseph.” When a famine came to the land, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams about it. Joseph told Pharaoh how to stockpile the grain to have enough for the seven year famine. During the famine, Joseph’s father Jacob heard of the available grain and sent his older sons to Egypt to buy some. There they met up with Joseph but did not recognize him.

Genesis 45 tells us how Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. He could have carried a grudge and dealt harshly with his brothers. But Joseph realized that God had been in control the whole time. In Genesis 45:7 Joseph says, “God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive.”

You see, God had provided a plan, even in the choices these people made, to bring a family back together and preserve God’s chosen people to bring us Jesus - the greatest Reconciler of all!

So Jesus is the “face of reconciliation”. 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “God...reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” In reconciliation we can finally find peace.

When working toward reconciliation in your own life, consider the following principles pulled from this Joseph encounter:

a. Reconciliation must be intentional
   (Genesis 32:3-5)
b. Reconciliation must be bathed in prayer
   (Genesis 32:9-12)
c. Reconciliation demands humility
   (Genesis 33:3)
d. Reconciliation requires vulnerability
   (Genesis 33:4)
e. Reconciliation needs forgiveness
   (Genesis 33:4)
f. Reconciliation is completed in restitution
   (Genesis 33:8)

Reflection Questions

• Does the Bible tell each of us that we are responsible for initiating reconciliation if we are in conflict with someone?
(Matthew 5:23-24)

• What are some walls we put up that hinder us from being reconciled with others?
Jim has been a member of Heritage Church for about fourteen years. He has served on the worship team as acoustic and bass guitar player, and he teaches in the 4th Quarter Bible Study group.
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