| Senses and Sensibility
“But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him;
he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.”
God does not intend for people to relate to one another at a distance or though other people. Genuine relationship involves personal communication. As Exodus 33:11 says, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (see also 2 John 12). If this is the idea for a true friendship, it is also the ideal for a relationship that has been broken by conflict and needs to be restored. Although other people can sometimes help get the restoration process started, its ultimate goal should usually be a personal, face-to-face meeting between those who have been estranged, so they can express and confirm repentance, confession, and forgiveness and experience together the grace and reconciliation of God.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 148
Food for Thought
Do you relate more face-to-face or screen-to-screen? Why?
We live in a time of connectedness. We are connected via e-mail, the Internet, our cell phones, Blackberries, and iPods. And those are just the avenues that readily come to mind. Being connected now ranks among the necessities of life, alongside food and shelter. But for all the beneficial ways (and there are many) that these technologies connect us, they connect us at a distance. And we find ourselves in a far country.
As Ken reminds us, the ideal for a friendship or relationship of any kind, is speaking face to face; God does not intend for people to relate primarily by way of distance. Notice the physical beauty inherent in Genesis 33.4. Jacob receives an embrace; have you ever felt the warmth of a hug from your iPod? Esau throws his arms around Jacob’s neck; it’s a little hard to feel the rough, hairy arms of your brother by way of a cell phone. Esau kisses Jacob; ask anyone in love if they would rather have the tactile sensations of a kiss or an e-mail full of emoticons. And then the two brothers weep; the Internet can raise the level of information in our heads, but can it cause our defenses to fall, so that tears spill from our hearts?
It’s easy to blame these tools, as if they are the problem. No, the problem is where it has always been–with us. We prefer distance to closeness, and darkness over the light. These tools just help us do it in style. We stride through life, gadgets in our pockets, patting ourselves on the backs, believing we’re really connected. But a close look at the eyes reveals our souls; we’re lonely and wonder why. Maybe we all need one of those prodigal moments–“when he came to his senses” (Luke 15.17). True sense, as God intended, will return to us via our senses. It means being hungry enough to feel the pains in your stomach, or maybe your heart. It means feeling the burn in your legs as you run toward home or maybe the hurt from that broken relationship. It means feeling the embrace of the one you’ve been estranged from; an embrace that just might squeeze the tears out of you. That kind of closeness brings life out of death; it allows you to be found instead of lost. And that story always ends with fattened calves, rings on fingers, and parties hosted by the Father; none of which can be enjoyed from a distance.
New Resource Available – The Peacemaker Student Edition!
Many of you have asked when we’d have a resource specifically for teens. We are pleased to announce The Peaceamker Student Edition is now available!
Written by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson, this resource provides examples relevant to today’s teens and young adults. Using the same sound scriptural approach, this book targets teens where they are and teaches them a solid foundation for dealing with conflict.
While written for teens, this book is also a must-have for parents, grandparents, and youth workers. You may order online or by calling our Resource Department at 800.711.7118.
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