Friday, 22 March 2013

Learning from Joseph

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
- Genesis 50:19-21 (NLT)
Joseph said this to his brothers. They plotted to kill him, sold him into slavery to end up thrown in jail for a crime that he was not guilty of. And when the time came, he forgave them. Can we do the same to those who have wronged us, intending to destroy us? It's not easy to do and it can feel like we're letting them off the hook completely.

And when God says that it is His responsibility to avenge those who do wrong to His children, we do not always trust Him to do that because we believe His concept of vengeance is very different from ours and He never acts on it when we might like Him to. However if we find the courage to let go and forgive (sometimes we need to ask God for it... multiple times) then the enemy (and consequently the person who wronged us) has no power over us, which can be very freeing if we let it free us.

The anger and shame doesn't have to rule over us. Somehow Joseph understood that. Somehow over the many years he spent in slavery and prison he found the strength to forgive those who wronged him and let God handle the situation. And he was rewarded for his faith.

It takes time. But over time we must learn to forgive. Anger poisons our minds and hardens our hearts. And we were never meant to live with anger eating away at our souls because it will kill us- literally.

I realize that people who have read this may have been hurt, recently or in years past. And that hurt covers a whole spectrum of things from broken promises to criminal acts. If you haven't already, (because some people are better at this than the rest of us) I urge you to at least look for the courage and the strength to forgive. And if justice needs to be done then seek it and let it be done. But if reconciliation can be found then there is a powerful healing that comes from God when we share the mercy that He's granted us once we've reconciled with Him.

I hope this finds all of you well. May you be at peace as we remember that Jesus has the last word. And that word could very well be resurrection. God bless you all.
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. - Matthew 6:12

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