Esther Pauline Friedman entered the world 17 minutes ahead of her twin sister, Pauline Esther Friedman.

The identical twins dressed alike, took the same classes, even shared the same purse with one set of keys, one comb, one lipstick.  They slept in the same twin bed. In fact, the first time they were separated was after their double wedding.

The middle-aged Esther Pauline got a job replacing the original Ann Landers at the Chicago Sun Times.    Two months later Pauline Esther started her own column with the San Francisco Chronicle, calling herself Abigail Van Buren (“Dear Abby”).

But then Ann told Time magazine that her sister Abby’s column was “very imitative.”

The feud was on.

For eight years, these two women who set out to solve everyone else’s problems could not settle their own sibling squabble.

Eventually, the two were reconciled.  They told the press that they were “very close.”

But the sniping continued.  Seventeen years after “making up,” Abby commented about Ann:  “If she looked old, if she needed a face-lift, believe me, it’s because she needed it.  I’m quite opposed to chopping myself up, but it was her right. Why not? When you cry a lot, it’s got to show.”   

The line first sung by the Mills Brothers in 1944 and cited in Love Story is:  “You always hurt the one you love.”  Corny, but too true. We often treat the paper boy with more civility than our own family.  

We presume upon the love and loyalty of our own family and friends, figuring they will be there when everyone else walks out.    So we assume an unholy entitlement to treat them shabbily.

In Genesis we often see brother against brother – Cain vs. Abel, Ishmael vs. Isaac, Esau vs. Jacob, ten sons of Jacob vs. Joseph.

In Joseph we seen an outstanding example of reconciliation.  It is a reconciliation that does not minimize sin, nor shrink from the painful summons to repentance.
Nor is this reconciliation half-hearted.  It is neither forced nor artificial. Nor does it shrink back from the wide-open arms of complete pardon.   Feuding families, embattled brothers and alienated friends can reconcile with each other only as they come by faith to see that God was in Christ reconciling them to Himself, and then pass the pardon.