TimeHeals All Wounds – and Other Lies We Believe about Conflict”

TheImpact of Jacob’s Deception

We’vebeen told that Time heals all wounds.

Ourunwillingness to confront sin, or talk about broken relationshipsconfirms that at least some of the time, we follow this advice.

Butas we know, time does not heal all wounds. Come with me to theChurch of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Roman Catholics, GreekOrothodox and several other denominations consider it the place ofChrist’s crucifixion and burial. Each denomination stakesclaim to various parts of the church, which has been a source ofconflict for centuries. As you approach the church, there is ladderstrangely leaning on one of the balconies. It’s been there atleast since the middle 1800’s. No one dares move the ladder becauseit might lead to an international incident.


Closerto home, I read of a man still seeking revenge after 30 years! SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) “Police say a 30-year grudge boiledover when a formerelementary school teacher litteredthe driveways of former co-workers and bosses with roofingnails and splattered paint on their garage doors. ThomasR. Haberbush, 72, pleaded guilty last Tuesday to one count each ofstalking, criminal mischief and criminal tampering, all misdemeanors.Police said that three former school board members, a retiredprincipal and a retired assistant principal at Caroline StreetElementary School were among the nine victims Haberbush targeted overthe past two years. Their car tires were damaged by roofing nailsthat Haberbush threw in the driveways, police said. “It’svery bizarre to carry around a grudge for nearly 30 years,” saidSaratoga Springs police investigator John Catone. “At least nowthere can be closure for all those people he terrorized.” Policesaid Haberbush had been angeredafter receiving poor work reviews. SaratogaCounty assistant district attorney

Timedoes not heal all wounds.

Thissermon focuses on the broken relationship of Jacob and Esau. We willlearn that broken relationships must be healed through confession andforgiveness in a way that honors both TRUTH in judgement and GRACE inforgiveness.


Esauis wounded when his mother Rebekah and brother Jacob conspire todeceive him and their father. This story is contained in Genesischapters 27-32.

Thestory begins with Rebekah, who has a serious character flaw ofdeception. We see her acting deceptively in at least three stories.

Thefirst is the possible deception regarding Esau’s birthright. We studied this last week and discovered that Esau “returnedfrom the open country” when he was hungry. This might refer tohim coming home, where no doubt Rebekah would have been, and whomight have influenced Jacob to deceive Esau and have him relinquishhis birthright.

Rebekah’ssecond act of dishonesty is the deception of Isaac’sBlessing. Weare familiar with the story as it is told in Genesis27:1–10 “WhenIsaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see,he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”“Here I am,” he answered. ” “Isaac said, “Iam now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. “”Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—andgo out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. “”Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me toeat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” “”Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. WhenEsau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, “”Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard yourfather say to your brother Esau, ” “‘Bring me somegame and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you myblessing in the presence of the Lordbefore I die.’ ” “Now, my son, listen carefully anddo what I tell you: ” “Go out to the flock and bring me twochoice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father,just the way he likes it. ” “Then take it to your father toeat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.””

Thethird deception of Rebekah is the deception of Jacob’sDeparture. Inthis part of the account found in Gen 27:45-46, Rebekah knows thatEsau is intent on killing Jacob because of his trickery regardingIsaac’s blessing. She wants Jacob to flee to her brotherLaban, hundreds of miles away, but she knows that Jacob cannot simplybreak ties with his father Isaac. She tricks Isaac into sendingJacob away by complaining to Isaac about the Canaanite women in theirland. Isaac then sends Jacob away, thinking the idea was his own. The scene reminds me of a similar scenario in a modern film, “MyBig Fat Greek Wedding.” In one scene, the daughter needs daddy’s permission to leavethe family business. Knowing he would never give it, the wife anddaughter conspire to get the father to do something when he thinks itwas “his idea.Iwonder if the writers of that script were familiar with this storyfrom the Old Testament!

Thepain of this deception causes Esau to hate his brother.

Genesis27:36 “Thenhe said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplantedme these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now hehas taken away my blessing.” And he said, “Have you notreserved a blessing for me?””

Genesis27:41 “SoEsau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with whichhis father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The daysof mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brotherJacob.”

Itis not hard to see how Esau would be wounded to the very core of hisbeing by the deception of his own brother and mother!

Woundslike can change the course of our lives. Unless we know how to dealwith these kinds of wounds, our lives can become captive to pain andbitterness.


Thedeeper the pain, the greater the forgiveness required to heal oursouls and keep us from all encompassing bitterness. This is no smalltask. We read in Proverbs18:14 “Thespirit of a man can endure his sickness, But as for a broken spiritwho can bear it?”

Again,we read of the difficulty in winning back someone who has been deeplyoffended. Proverbs18:19 “Abrother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, Andcontentions are like the bars of a citadel.”

Inthe end, Esau does forgive Jacob. After years of separation, theyare united again in Genesis33:1-4. Butit is not time that heals their wounds. It is a change of heart inJacob, who appeases his brother with gifts reflecting his guilt ofhaving taken Esaus’ rightful possessions. Even thoughreconciled, years of friendship were lost. Children were born thatnever knew one another. Memories were forfeited to the refusal ofstubborn pride. Such is the result of broken relationships. We arethe ones who suffer.

Scripturereminds us of the importance of healing, forgiveness and restoration.Forgiveness is the mark of a Christian. Christ is our example. Heforgave us of an infinitely greater degree of offence than anythingthat anyone will ever do to us. Because of this, we are commanded topractice forgiveness and to be in unity with our brothers andsisters.

Atthe end of a powerful parable about forgiveness, Jesus concludes thestory by saying in Matthew 18:35 “Myheavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does notforgive his brother from your heart.””

Minoroffences should be overlooked (Proverbs19:11 “Aman’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his gloryto overlook a transgression.”) butserious offenses must be reconciled.

Reconciliationmust be based in TRUTH. Restitution must be made when it isnecessary. We see this in Zaccheus. Even though he is a newbeliever in Jesus and his sins are forgiven, he properly recognizedthat the debts that he owed must be repaid. He says in

Luke19:8 “ButZacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here andnow I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheatedanybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.””

Thebook of Philemon is a great text to demonstrate forgiveness andrestoration. Paul encourages his friend Philemon to forgive hisrun-away slave Onesimus, who has now become a follower of Jesus andthus, the spiritual brother of Philemon. In Paul’s appeal, herecognizes that Philemon is legally due restitution, and offers topay it himself. Paul does not ignore the debt, but rather offers away to satisfy Onesimus’ obligation to Philemon. Philemon18 “Ifhe has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.”

Weare called to peace! Hebrews12:15 “Seeto it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root ofbitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;”

Colossians3:15 “Letthe peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you werecalled in one body; and be thankful.”

Matthew5:9 “Blessedare the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

James3:18 “Peacemakerswho sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”


Jacobfollows the voice of God. God had told Jacob that he must return tothe Land that He promised. After years of separation from Isaac andEsau, Jacob follows God’s commands and returns to the Land ofCanaan. This is a major step in Jacob’s life and an act ofobedience. The only thing hindering him from returning was hisbroken relationship with Esau. But Jacob comes to the point ofputting God’s will before the obstacles of human circumstances. In doing this, Jacob is acting out in faith rather than fear, andGod blesses him for doing so.

God’scommand to Jacob was clear. He was to live in Canaan.

Genesis28:15 “Iam with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bringyou back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what Ihave promised you.””

Genesis32:9 “ThenJacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my fatherIsaac, Lord,you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and yourrelatives, and I will make you prosper,’”

Genesis31:13 “Iam the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you madea vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your nativeland.’ ”

Restorationwith Esau was required in order for Jacob to return. Jacob takes thefollowing bold steps to help that restoration occur.


RodneyBuchanon, in a sermon titled “Families and Forgiveness”(sermoncentral.com) tells us of an ancient door on display in St.Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. The rough hewn door hasa rectangular hole hacked out in its center. It is called the “Doorof Reconciliation,” and gives rise to the Irish expression of“chancing one’s arm.” In 1492, two prominent Irishfamilies, the Ormonds and Kildares, were in the midst of a bitterfeud. As the feud grew and turned into an all out fight, the Earl ofOrmand was besieged by the Earl of Kildare. The Earl of Ormand andhis family and followers took refuge in the chapter house of St.Patrick’s cathedral and bolted themselves in. However, as thesiege wore on, the Earl of Kildare concluded the feuding was foolish.Here were two families worshiping the same God, in the same church,living in the same country, trying to kill each other. So Kildarecalled out to the Earl of Ormand and pledged that he would not seekrevenge or indulge in villainy — he wanted the Ormands to comeout and the feud to be over. But the Earl of Ormand was convincedthat it was a scheme full of treachery and refused to come out of thecathedral. So Kildare grabbed his spear, chopped a hole in the doorwith it, and thrust his hand through. There was a tense moment untilhis hand was grasped by another hand inside the church. The door wasopened and the two men embraced, thus ending the family feud. FromKildare’s noble gesture came the expression: “chancingone’s arm.”

Jacobwas “chancing his arm” by returning to Esau. He did notknow if he would be received or killed, but he takes the initiativeand makes the first step. Sometimes, that’s all that it takes!

1. JACOB CONFRONTS HIS OWN FAILURES. Read the narrative in Gen32:22-39. It contains the story of Jacob wrestling with the Lord andnot letting Him go until he blessed him. This time, Jacob is seekingGod for a blessing, and not trusting his own deceptive ways. Thismarks a major turning point in the life of the Patriarch.

3. JACOB FACED HIS GREATEST FEAR, AND HIS GREATEST PERSONAL CHALLENGE. It is difficult to recognize our own points of failure and even moredifficult to admit them. But Jacob would NO LONGER BE THE DECEIVER! He puts it all out in order to be reconciled.

4. JACOB TRUSTED GOD FOR THE RESULT. In Gen 32:9-12, Jacob precedeshis human action in returning to Canaan with a deeply personal prayerasking God to lead him.

Thewrath of Esau is appeased by God’s grace, through Jacob’sconfession, restoration and bold faith. There is a positive end tothis story, and also a powerful lesson to us.




Godstill accomplished his plan!

Godstill blessed Jacob!

Godstill blessed Esau!

Godstill preserved the line for the Messiah

AndGod will bless you as you learn thatbroken relationships must be healed through confession andforgiveness in a way that honors both TRUTH in judgement and GRACE inforgiveness.