Faith and Religion, Literature

I Forgot They Forgave

Jacob and Esau
Jacob and Esau

So, I was sitting in Sacrament meeting today, thinking about food (just like every Sunday) and a lady got up and started talking about Jacob and Esau.

For some unexplainable reason, I sat up and started listening……okay, she mentioned a “mess of pottage.” I don’t even know what a “mess of pottage” is, but I knew that I wanted it! Shoot, I almost sold my own birthright for it.

Here’s how it went down for Jacob and Esau:

Esau was the first-born son, so he got the birthright. After working very hard in the fields, Esau returned home very hungry. Jacob said that he would give Esau a mess of pottage if Esau gave Jacob his birthright. Esau agreed.

Once Esau fully comprehended what he had done, he was furious with Jacob and vowed to kill him. At their mother’s urging, Jacob fled the land and began working with some relatives.

After many years, Esau (and four hundred men) discovers Jacob’s whereabouts. Jacob, likely thinking that this is the end of the road, “bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother” (Genesis 32:3).

At this point, the lady who was speaking said: “What do you think happened next?” And I knew that Jacob didn’t die, so I was thinking that a host of angels appeared and frightened Esau off or something like that. But I was shocked—astounded at what happened next.

“And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept” (Genesis 33:4).

Now, I have a very vague memory of that story. I had almost completely forgotten it. Remembering it, and rereading it, has touched me. It made me think about the people whom I need to forgive, regardless of how they might have deceived me or cheated me.

Because, in the end, we’re all family, right?

“Because another is unkind to you is no justification of your own unkindness, but rather is a call for the exercise of great kindness on your part… Your unkindness may provoke hurt in others, but it certainly hurts and wounds and impoverishes yourself most of all.” – James Allen