Humility and Kindness to Resolve Conflict

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The meeting of Esau and Jacob is different than in their previous life together. As explained in Genesis 33, Esau sees his brother Jacob in a distance and runs toward him to embrace him (v. 4). Jacob and Esau are friendly toward each other. They both have been prosperous as Esau asked about the gift of flocks and herds; saying he already had plenty and that Jacob should keep them but Jacob insist that Esau keep the gift.

Several things can be learned in this passage about resolving conflicts with others. Jacob communicated with Esau. He sent men ahead to communicate what his intentions were; to meet with his brother in peace. He told Esau what had been going on in his life for all these years.

Then, Jacob showed respect in the words he used. Jacob used the words “my Lord” as the designation he gave Esau. He was kind to Esau and tried to flatter him with the gift of flocks and herds to find favor with Esau.

We face conflict every day. Maybe it is the driver who is in a hurry and cuts you off trying to get advantage in traffic. Maybe it is the fellow employee who is aggressively trying to beat you out of the promotion. Maybe it is a spouse who left this morning in anger after a disagreement. Whatever it may be, today’s passage offers some good ideas in resolving conflict.

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