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Weekly Encouragement

If this happens in your family…

Keeping a Family Together
You cannot choose your family and unlike friends that you can fade away from, family will remain forever. For those who haven’t come from the most loving and supportive families, or even had the best experiences with them, blessing your relatives can be difficult. In a situation such as this, what can you do?
There are countless stories about families and their feuds within the Bible. Two of my personal favorites are that of Jacob and Esau, two brothers, and Joseph and his brothers.
Now you see, Jacob and Esau had issues, family issues. Their father Isaac prepared a special birthright (a blessing) for the eldest son, Esau. Due to Isaac’s blindness in his old age, Jacob was able to deceive his father by pretending to be Esau—stealing  the birthright. In fact, the blessing Jacob received was so abundant, that when Esau asked Isaac were there any more blessings he could receive, Isaac couldn’t really provide any. All of it rested upon Jacob’s life.
You could have imagined how mad and disappointed Esau was. Something that he was entitled to was taken away—stolen by his own flesh and blood—never to be given back. In order to prevent further conflict, the two brothers departed from one another, leaving behind sentiments of animosity and shame.
Years later, Esau and Jacob were to see each other again. Jacob sent gifts to find favor towards his brother and prepared people to fight against Esau: he was afraid of what his brother might do because of what occurred many years before. However, when the brothers encountered each other, Esau embraced Jacob, kissed him, cried, and most of all, forgave him. He was kind to his brother and wanted nothing more than to see Jacob prosper. Instead of accepting the gifts sent by Jacob he declined them, offering to give his brother blessings in return. This was the perfect opportunity to seek revenge for Esau, yet he chose a better decision: to move on, love his brother, and keep the past in the past.
This is seen too between Joseph and his family.  Joseph was mistreated, mocked, and sold into slavery by his brothers. Due to the way the brothers treated him he suffered much within his life. Yet, when Joseph received one of the highest titles in Egypt his brothers approached him, pleading for help. Joseph’s brothers were in such dire need that they bowed down to him, proclaiming themselves to be his servants.
But Joseph’s response to them was a simple one: God allowed me to provide for you, so I will. I am not God to harm you, and so I have forgiven you.
Whatever it was the brothers needed, Joseph provided. He saw the opportunity to rekindle the flame that had been burnt out years before. He wanted to restore the relationship that was broken and the only way to do this was through forgiveness.
It is always easier said than done, but it is the only solution to restoring the broken and damaged ties within the family. Jesus said, if we don’t forgive others we won’t be forgiven. So see it as you’re doing yourself a personal favor. When you forgive, God in heaven will forgive you.
Within my own family, it was hard to be forgiving sometimes. I may have stayed upset or mad for awhile, but then I remembered: they are still family. People aren’t perfect and just like they were in need of my forgiveness one day I too, would be in need of theirs.
When you encounter a moment to be resentful, choose the better option: to forgive and love.

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