We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Returning to someone we've hurt is a scary thing. The passing years, lack of communication, and memories of the anger and hateful exchanges of emotion can all create a tremendous weight of fear. Even though we may make some contact through a third party, there will still be tension until we see that person face-to-face.
This was the case for Jacob upon returning to see Esau. "Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men. . . . Then Jacob went on ahead. . . . Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept." After being introduced to Jacob's family, Esau asked, " ‘And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?' . . . Jacob replied, ‘They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.' ‘My brother, I have plenty,' Esau answered. ‘Keep what you have for yourself.' But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.' And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift" (Genesis 33:1, 3-4, 8-11).
Jacob's tremendous fear gave way to relief. The last time Jacob had seen Esau, he was being restrained to keep him from killing Jacob. With the passing of time, both of them had changed. When Jacob faced his brother, he found that there was still affection, even though they both remembered the pain.
Time can heal only those hurts we've brought out into the open.
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.