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Changed by God

Rev. Linda Battello

Jacob was one of Isaac’s twin sons. He tricked his brother, Esau, out of his inheritance and left the country for fear of what his brother would do. He made a life for himself and created a family. God looked at Jacob and did not see only the trickster or the son who played on his father’s favoritism, but a man who God could use.
So God came to Jacob first in a dream at Bethel and then, after Jacob was returning home to meet his brother after many years, at a river crossing. In his encounter, Jacob wrestled with a visiting angel and received a hip injury and a new name, Israel.
God used a human who had many mistakes, hurting God and people who loved him, to found a nation. If God is willing to take this person and make him a foundation for a people, why do we not extend the same forgiveness and opportunity to people who have failed us?
We expect people to never change and use things against them that they did years ago. When they change their minds, we accuse them of “flip-flopping.” This kind of change is normal and, in fact, is what Jesus told us to do. We are encouraged to repent of sins, by asking forgiveness and doing things differently-- changing our lives.
Through Christ, God works to help us accomplish these things. We need to stop accusing others of changing themselves when our God asks us to change every day. God also wants them to change and for us to accept others as they are, not as they were.
Are we willing to try this in our daily lives? Let’s accept God’s forgiveness and forgive others, accepting who they are now. Perhaps the world would become a kinder and more loving place if we do.