Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010 – Day 19. Jan. 19 – The Fine Art of Forgiveness

Study from Genesis 42 – 45; Passage for Reflection: Genesis 42: 15 … NIV And he [Joseph] kissed his brothers and wept over them. Afterward he brothers talked with him.

My Journal for Today: Well here we are in the story of Joseph where his brothers have learned that the brother whom they had mistreated and sold into slavery is now a big deal in Egypt; and they were terrified upon this being revealed. And we have seen Joseph take them through a number of scenarios before revealing himself. And finally the masks come off; and Joseph reveals himself, forgiving his brothers for the past wrongs.

My devotional author, Dr. Smith, speculates about why Joseph waited and put the brothers through what he did before revealing his identity. I had never really thought about that until this reading today. Have you? He says it might have been to give them the time they needed to see where they were and the power Joseph really had over their lives, giving much more impact to the forgiveness. It is also quite possible that the way the story unfolded, so dramatically, was for you and me in having this story as an example of God’s forgiveness of sinners like us. But nonetheless, the story does illustrate just how far God has gone (and will go) to forgive those who’re repentant and acknowledge their sin. Joseph, of course, in the story becomes a type of Jesus; and we know just how far God went with Him to forgive and save His family.

Pastor Smith makes a good point today that forgiveness is more an art than an exact science. Each case where forgiveness is called for is different because each sinner who needs forgiveness is different and each person who needs to forgive one who has wronged them is different. But there is one truth which overrides all; and that is that there is no wrong which cannot, and Smith adds, “should not”, be forgiven. If God can forgive me all those years I rejected Him, living a double-life of over 22 years of hidden sinful living; and if He can lavish His love and mercy on me, as He has, to the point of raising me to become an ordained minister of the Gospel, He can (and will) forgive anyone. I firmly believe that God, through Joseph’s patience and forbearance, shows anyone reading this story just how far He will go to give sinners a chance to be cleansed and justified in His eyes, … then lavishing His grace on us, which none of us deserve, we are allowed to be transformed to become like the One Who saved us. That’s what Joseph did for his brothers; and it’s what Jesus has done for me and for you.

Oh, … my Lord, … I have been such a man, like Joseph’s brothers, who wanted my brother, Jesus, out of my life. He was a Bother to me; and I wanted to kill Him. So I sold Him for selfishness to get rid of Him from my life. But He would not forget me; and He came after me … the “Hound of Heaven,” giving me the opportunity to repent and to change; and with His grace, I did. And like Joseph’s brothers, I became broken, acknowledging that my only hope was in the Person of my Savior. And I thank God for this rich and wonderful lesson in forgiveness which we read in the life of Joseph; and I pray that if we have someone in our lives who needs forgiveness that we pray for them and allow them the dignity of humility and repentance in this art of life we call forgiveness.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, if there be anyone I need to forgive, as You have forgiven me, make them known to me and give me the grace to forgive them. Amen

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