Genesis 33:1-4 (CEB)

1 Jacob looked up and saw Esau approaching with four hundred men. Jacob divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two women servants. 2 He put the servants and their children first, Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 He himself went in front of them and bowed to the ground seven times as he was approaching his brother. 4 But Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, kissed him, and they wept.

Galatians 6:1 (CEB)

1 Brothers and sisters, if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual should restore someone like this with a spirit of gentleness. Watch out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted too.                            

DEVOTION -Mari Leigh Fanning (Alabama)

As I listened to our pastor his greatest sin and failure, I felt shock, disbelief, and disappointment.  Then, suddenly, I was overwhelmed by a more powerful feeling.  My heart burned with compassion and mercy.  I had been given a glimpse of God’s heart.  As the pastor stood before us, pleading for forgiveness, the words were whispered in my spirit:  “You are forgiven.”

We are children living in a fallen world; we all fall short.  How do we respond when our bothers and sisters sin?

Genesis provides a beautiful illustration of a brother’s love and forgiveness.  Jacob had stolen Esau’s inheritance and blessing.  Many year later, when the brothers were reunited, Esau made a choice.  He could have held on to resentment; instead he chose to receive his brother with grace and mercy.

Faced with the transgressions of our fellow believers, we can choose to be bitter and to place blame.  Or we can choose to reach out with loving arms to lift up our brothers and sisters when they stumble.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: How can I offer the grace of Christ to fellow believers?

PRAYER: Merciful God, thank you for your unending grace.  Thank you for loving us no matter how many times we fail.  Help us to extend your love to our brothers and sisters.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: CHURCH LEADERS

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