January 31, 2014 by Chris French
There are two sides to every conflict and it’s going to take both of you working together to restore the relationship to what it once was. If you’re the one who broke the relationship you need to read How the Offender Resolves Conflict, but there are some things the person who has been hurt should do to bring resolution to the conflict. These principles come from Jacob and Esau’s story in Genesis 32-33.
1. Move on
Esau was the one who was on the receiving end of a heartbreak, but he got on with his life. When Jacob alerts him that he’s coming to see him after a 20 year absence Esau brings a small army to meet him. It’s probable that they are in hostile territory. Eventually Esau will take over Seir and the area surrounding it. It’s possible that those incursions have already begun so Esau has made some enemies. The point is that Esau had become a force to be reckoned with in this area. He didn’t focus on finding Jacob or getting what was his he just moved on and made the best out of a bad situation. A lot of times when someone has hurt us we want to stay in that moment. That’s not healthy and it won’t lead to a resolution of your problem. Don’t be defined by your heartbreak. Allow it to motivate you to do bigger things in your life.
2. Desire a resolution
Sometimes when someone has hurt us we don’t really want peace between them and us. We want them to feel pain. Esau ran to meet his brother and when they met they were BOTH crying (Gen. 33.4). He wanted a good relationship with Jacob so the moment Jacob let him know he was in the area Esau headed toward him. He wanted things to be good between him and Jacob. It’s going to take some soul searching and maybe some time, remember Esau had 20 years to work thru this stuff, don’t expect this desire to happen overnight. While you may not feel like loving them, love isn’t just an emotion; it’s an action. While you’re working your way up to feeling the love for them do things that will bless them.
3. Get rid of ill will
The purpose of Jacob’s gifts were to induce good will between him and Esau, but Esau didn’t have any ill will left toward Jacob. He had let all of that go. You’re never going to get over the pain if you hold onto it. Let it go. Desire peace between you and the person who hurt you. That way if they come to you and are ready to make amends there’s nothing holding you back. If the worst case scenario happens and they never come to you looking for resolution you’ve forgiven them and you’ve let that pain go. The longer you hold on to the anger and pain the more it will spread to other areas of your life.
4. Protect the Relationship
Esau offers his entire army as protection for Jacob, his family and his livestock and when Jacob refuses he offers to leave some of the soldiers with his group. Esau was looking to protect his long lost relationship with his brother. As the one who was offended and heartbroken you can protect the relationship. Remove all the barriers that might hurt your resolved friendship and watch out for friend. This will probably mean protecting your relationship from the people who are closest to you. They love you and have already seen you hurt once because of this relationship, so any new intimacy they see between you and this person will be met by concern on their part. This is a good thing! They love you and don’t want to see you hurt, but if the relationship is worth fighting for to you make sure you protect it…even from the people who are trying to protect you.