Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 29, 2012 … When Forgiveness is Real

Genesis 47: 1-6: … [The Real Deal] ... 15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?" 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

My Journal for Today: Perhaps you may have been in a relationship in your life when someone surprised you with their expression of love or concern by forgiving you. Perhaps you had wronged someone; and the one you wronged showed you a display of forgiveness which you may not have deserved and certainly didn’t expect. As we read through the life of Joseph, we remember how God brought his brothers back into his life and how he forgave them. He even had the opportunity to gain a measure of revenge over the brothers who had sold him into slavery, some of whom had even plotted to kill him; but he shocked the brothers with his expressions of love for them. And at the time it happened, it did seem real; but then there was their father, Jacob (aka, “Israel”) who was still alive. So, maybe Joseph’s forgiveness, as the brothers had experienced it, was just Joseph being that way as an expression of love for Jacob.

Therefore, years later, when Jacob died, the brothers were confronted with the grief of their brother, Joseph, for Jacob; and they became fearful that perhaps Joseph would exact a delayed reaction of revenge for what the brothers had done years earlier to their young brother, Joseph. But the story reveals that Joseph’s forgiveness was the real deal along with his genuine love for his family.

I hope we all have released any/all feelings of anger or bitterness for any past injustices or ill-begotten actions perpetrated on us by anyone in our past. Joseph’s real forgiveness for his brothers was a picture of the love shown by Jesus, Whom we know held nothing but forgiveness in His heart for those who had nailed Him to the cross; and my friends, do you remember that our sins, mine and yours, were the actions that nailed Jesus to that tree at Golgotha? And as He was dying for mankind, He said to His heavenly father on that cross, ”Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Really, all we need to remember – or learn – from this passage today is to make our forgiveness REAL DEAL forgiveness, holding on to no animosity or residual bitterness. And if any of you, who might be reading along with me, have someone in your life whom you need to let go of any past bitterness and forgive them – for real, I pray that we’ll do just that.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for purging any/all of those past feelings of revenge or anger towards anyone. And thank YOU, my Jesus, for Your forgiveness of my past, present, and future sins. Amen

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