April 15, 2016
The topic that never stops demanding from us……forgiveness.
A young Joseph, the darling of his father, is betrayed by his brothers, thrown in a pit and then sold to slave-traders. To add insult to injury, he is later falsely accused of sexual impropriety at a time when life had just gotten better for him. The false accusation lands him in prison for several years.
Finally he is vindicated and not only that, but raised to the second highest position in the land. Life is really good now – a palace to live in, a new wife to love, an authority to exercise over the nation. His wisdom is the talk of the town; his administrative decisions are followed to the letter. Famine is coming and he prepares the nation for survival.
Then one day travelers show up from the nearby land of Canaan. Joseph recognizes them immediately – his brothers, the very ones who betrayed him. They have no clue who he is for no son of Jacob would ever be expected to look and dress like an Egyptian.
Fast forward to the day that Joseph is revealed himself to his brothers.
Joseph put everybody else out of the room so there was no one with him when he revealed his true identity to his brothers. (Gen. 45:1) He let his brothers save face.
Do you suppose the Joseph was immune to the temptation to take revenge – or at least to embarrass his brothers in front of the Egyptians? Do you suppose that Joseph never had the thought of ‘getting even’ go through his mind? Of course he did – he was human. But through his years of suffering he had learned a few things and we get the benefit of seeing what it’s like when a servant of God has a sanctified tongue.
Our flesh is inclined to get even with those who have hurt us by destroying their credibility. We can’t stand to see people who’ve hurt us be admired by others. The flesh wants to make sure that they “feel guilty” and are “very sorry” before we forgive them.
Joseph had plenty of reason to feel that way but he chose to protect the self-worth of his brothers instead. He did not shame them in front of the Egyptians.
As if that was not impressive enough, he took it a step further and even protected their dark secret from his father. He would not let them tell Jacob what had really happened. (Gen. 45: 9-11) And he provided for them all – they and their families – throughout the remainder of the famine.
Total forgiveness says I no longer hold this against you, I will not keep bringing it up and I will not going around telling everybody what you did to me.
Think of it this way. Has God ever tattled on you to someone else? Or does He forgive you when you repent, wash away your sin and promise to ‘remember it no more’?
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Matthew 5:12
Joseph is a great example of total forgiveness, but there is an even greater One – the Lord Himself.
Why do you think He included that verse in the Lord’s prayer? Because He knew that we would get hurt. It’s part of life! It just happens. Many times it’s not deliberate and other times it is. That’s not the point with Jesus. He just says, ‘Forgive as you have been forgiven.’
If you’re struggling today with a hurt or an insult whether it was recent or happened years ago, give it to Him. Let Him take it, heal you and set you free from the prison of unforgiveness.
It may be the greatest thing you do for yourself this Tuesday.