DAY 23 – “Saving Face”

23 ELUL 5769


OK – I am “fessin up” about confessing my faults.  In truth, this is the most difficult step in the Teshuvah (Repentance) process for me.  I’m ok with stopping, and regretting but if I have to say what I did – Urgh! my stomach goes into knots.  And let me be the first to say – it is easy to “fess up” to G-d but if I have to fess up to others about a sin, attitude, behavior – the process begins to slow way………….. down.

It seems as humans – this is a rough road that many of us avoid.  From “one heart that tries to hide” to the next – don’t be afraid.  Let’s take a lesson from Jacob as he struggled with the Man the night before his meeting with Esau.  What was Esau’s response to reuniting with his brother that cheated him out of his birthright – nearly two decades before?

Genesis 32:6-7 | Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. 8 And he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape.”

He brought “FOUR HUNDRED MEN with him?!!!….”  Obviously Esau had NOT forgotten what Jacob had done.   Reconciling with Esau was not going to be easy.

This was not a time to save face and try to offer up some reason for his actions.   Jacob needed the wisdom of the L-rd to deal with a situation “he had created” (none of this “G-d knows my heart stuff”).  The only resolution for this situation was a face to face encounter with G-d and…….. himself.   Jacob needed a miracle – a miracle within.

24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel;for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

The miracle was not Esau sending his army away.  The miracle was not Esau sending a message to Jacob saying, “I love you man, come on home. I forgive you.”   Jacob’s miracle was NOT a change in ESAU.  The miracle was a change in himself.

The struggle that we have is NOT with other people.  If we try to save face and rewrite the truth about our actions, our behavior or attitudes, we will not prevail.   (It’s not like the delusion of Las Vegas, where “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”)  What happens in the heart is known (by G-d and ourselves).   We can not escape from the truth that questions our excuses, intentions, and motives.  We can’t “Save Face” in the heart.

When we need to repent, confess (say “I am sorry”) and make things right – coming face to face with the living G-d is the answer for the struggle of the soul.

The clarion is sounding….  Until we deal with the fact that we also contribute to the pain in our world, we will not be in position to stop the hurt.   Rather than “saving face” and  fighting those around us, let us wrestle with the person within and cling to G-d until he changes our name.  Perhaps, we too – will be blessed to see Him face to face and live!

Genesis 32:30 |  30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”


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