Jacob Makes a List — Step 8

STEP 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

Jacob always wanted to be first and he made a long list of persons he had harmed while stealing this birth right and the ancient blessing of it from his older brother, Esau. Esau and Jacob were twins. Even in the womb they fought terribly and at their birth, Jacob was still trying to get ahead.

26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Genesis 25:26 ESV

Jacob in Hebrew means He takes by the heel, or He cheats. When Isaac, their father was very ill and possibly dying, he called for Esau to offer him the blessing. In ancient Hebrew times, this blessing was the right of the first born son. While Esau was away hunting to get the meat for his father’s favorite dish as Isaac requested, Jacob snuck in and tricked his blinded father into giving him the blessing. (Genesis chapter 27)

When Esau learned of this, his was furious and vowed to kill his brother Jacob. So Jacob fled to Paddan-aram and stayed away for almost 40 years. During that time, Jacob was blessed with much financial wealth and a large healthy family. He also grew older and wiser as God taught Jacob some humbling lessons through life experience. It was during this time that Jacob made his list of all the persons he had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. He packed up his large family and all his belongings to begin the trek back to Canaan, the land of his father Isaac.

This was a large risk for Jacob. His brother had vowed to kill him and Jacob knew that Esau had prospered over this time too. Also, Esau was a strong and mighty hunter. Jacob was sure he was still a formidable opponent; however, Jacob knew he had to try to mend his relationship with his brother and father. With a humble heart, Jacob makes peace with Esau in Genesis chapter 33.

As we make our list and become willing to make amends, we realize that those we have harmed may not be as graciously forgiving as Jacob’s brother Esau. It is difficult to face the wrongs of our past, and even harder to consider that not every relationship can be mended. However, with God’s help, He can offer us the strength and courage to step forward so we can work to repair the wrongs of the past. Keep praying—over time, God will help you become willing.

Jacob’s Key Verse for Step 8

He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. Genesis 33:3-4 (ESV)

 Examine your heart

  1. It took Jacob 40 years to become willing to make amends. Is there someone on your list you are struggling with becoming willing?
  2. Making a list is more than a mental note. Are you working with your sponsor to begin to write these down?
  3. If you are newer to the program, have you started, or are you ready, for a 4th Step which is the starting point for the 8th Step?

Learn More

This story of Jacob can be found in chapter 25 to 33 in Genesis. The book of Genesis is located on page 3 of the second edition of The Life Recovery Bible. The story of Jacob continues through chapter 49 and also includes valuable recovery lessons for Step 9 and 10.

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