I have not been thinking about this issue that much, so i’m not quite ready to make anything more than an initial observation. And it is this: That there is a deep correlation between our interaction with God, and of that with humans. Meaning for ex. Until we truly feel forgiveness from God, we might be unable to forgive others, or experience that forgivness from others. Another example maybe is that when we experience the grace of God in our lives, I think we are better able to extend grace to others as well.
Does that make sense? Rare is it that we are able to go the extra step, if we have yet taken that step in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Why do I talk about this? For a couple of reasons: 1) I have been thinking more about this issue as I work on my MFT degree, and begin to integrate it more fully into my M.Div. degree. 2) I was thinking about a beatiful passage in Gen. 32-33 that I have been reading.
This passage is much more effective in Hebrew, as one is able to pick up more on the play of words but it is a beatfiful passage nonetheless.
In Genesis 32:29-30, after Jacob has wrestled with a “man” he says:
Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”
Beatiful passage….Then we find in Genesis 33 Jacob fearful of his coming encounter with his brother Esau whom he has not seen since he stole his birthright and fled. The passage in Genesis 33:10 says this:
Jacob said, “No, please; if I find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God–since you received me with such favor.”
This passage is a beatiful play on words and this concept of face to face.
But I wonder if Jacob would have seen Esau the same way if he had not earlier wrestled with the “man”, leaving knowing that he had seen God face to face. I think this experience prepared him for this face to face encounter with Esau, an encounter that truly revealed the grace and forgiveness of God.
I think that our encounters with God often lead and prepare us to better encounter those in our lives.
Nothing ground breaking, but something I am thinking about.