Testing the Water
We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
When we've deeply hurt someone and are preparing to make amends, we may be hesitant. We may want to spend some time considering the best strategy for approaching them.
Jacob had deeply offended Esau. He was afraid as he approached Esau after a twenty-year separation. Before they were to meet, "Jacob stayed where he was for the night. Then he selected . . . gifts from his possessions to present to his brother, Esau." The gift he prepared was a large herd of livestock. "He told his servants, ‘Go ahead of me with the animals, but keep some distance between the herds.' He gave these instructions to the men leading the first group: ‘When my brother, Esau, meets you, he will ask, "Whose servants are you? Where are you going? Who owns these animals?" You must reply, "They belong to your servant Jacob, but they are a gift for his master Esau. Look, he is coming right behind us." ' Jacob gave the same instructions to the second and third herdsmen and to all who followed behind the herds: ‘You must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. And be sure to say, "Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us." ' Jacob thought, ‘I will try to appease him by sending gifts ahead of me. When I see him in person, perhaps he will be friendly to me' " (Genesis 32:13-20).
Notice that Jacob told the servants to call Esau "master." When Jacob left home he had stolen Esau's birthright to be master over him. The words and gift were designed to bring peace. There are times when it may be wise to send a gift and a pacifying message to test the waters before a face-to-face meeting.
We need to take precautions as we seek to make amends—it's OK to test the waters.
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.