Forgiveness; No Buts

Note: You can skip the dramatics and scroll down to where it says ‘Due to envy…’ (read Genesis 37 first for context), however if you like a bit of fun whilst you read, start from the top! 🙂

Joseph was a man spoken of in the old testament.
He’s the son of a guy named Jacob a.k.a. Israel, and he had 11 brothers…

Sounds pretty normal so far, right?
Yeah, so let’s read from the scriptures (pardon my dramatic thoughts when you see them in brackets);

“Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.”
[Genesis 37:3-4]

(I don’t know about you, but I’m sensing this favouritism is going to cause some problems…)

Let’s read a bit more;

“One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.”
[Genesis 37:5]

(Oh dear! It’s about to go down…)

““Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.”
[Genesis 37:6-8]

(Snap! Joseph you really should’ve kept that dream to yourself mate…)

“When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!””
[Genesis 37:18-20]

(I knew it!! I told you something bad was going to happen…)

“But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.”
[Genesis 37:21-22]

(Oh phew! Thank God for Reuben…)

“So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.

Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.”
[Genesis 37:23-28]

(Nooo Wayyy!)

Okay, Let’s stop there.

Oh My Goodness!!!
Who else wishes this was made into a movie?! Extremely interesting, right?

Anyway, drama aside, let’s get a message out of this…

Due to envy, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery!
How absolutely crazy?!

But little did he know, that these same brothers would need his help, and he would be in a mighty position to help…

Through the next few chapters in the book of Genesis (which I definitely encourage you to read in your own time), we see Joseph face some trials, but also he faces triumphs, as he becomes Governor in Genesis 41:39-41.
As we continue reading, we see that in fact his brothers end up needing his help, and whilst they don’t recognise him, Joseph definitely recognises them, but still helps them!
The question I want to bring out from this story is;

How far does your Forgiveness go?

Some of us say we can forgive, but never forget. We can forgive, but it will never be the same. We can forgive, but we’ll never help them out again. We’ll never do anything for them again. We could never look at them the same. We could never have love for them again…
The list of the things we say about forgiveness when someone has wronged us, is endless.

Today, I want us to look at Joseph, and I want us to learn from him…

What Joseph’s brothers did, was terrible (in fact, that’s an understatement, but I just can’t think of a better word to describe the atrocity).
However let’s take a moment to think about it properly;
If there was no sale, there would have been no rescue in the future…

After all the years that had gone by, Joseph must have come to the realisation of the fact that he was simply being used by God.
He would have seen and understood the purpose for the pain in the past, which had now enabled a greater glory of grace, for good, in the present.

Joseph was endowed with wisdom to understand that the perfect will of God had allowed him to endure the ugly act of his brothers so many years beforehand, in order to bring great blessing and survival to his family in the future; Genesis 45:6-11.

There isn’t a sense of bitterness or wickedness in Joseph at all.
He doesn’t finally see an opportunity to get his own back and punish his brothers, but rather, he sees and accepts that there was a reason for that past season.

Pray today for this spirit of true, pure forgiveness.
We want to be able to forgive in a way that makes us forget the pain, that makes us release all bitterness, and makes us to realise God’s plan through it all.

For some of us, the ‘brothers of Joseph’ in our lives are going to reappear one day, in need,
I’m asking, that just as Joseph cared more about God’s will, than the pain he endured;
We, when this time should come, (though very very very difficult) will do the same…
We will still help them, despite…..

May God give us wisdom, strength and growth, to know that it won’t be a time to ‘finally’ laugh or mock them, but in fact it will be a time to help them when they need it most!
And through this, they will truly see the power of the Love of God.

Father, we pray for the ability to forgive deeply and truly, and we pray for a heart that will always let Love win, completely,
in Jesus’ Mighty Name.
Amen.

*I encourage you to take the time to read Genesis 37 fully, and also read the chapters that follow (up to chapter 45 at least), in order to get a full picture of this aspect of the story of Joseph.*

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

I Forgive You…

You’ve been hurt.
Like, really hurt by someone, and to be honest, you’re struggling to get past it…

Today I want us to look at the importance of Forgiveness.

So first, let’s talk real talk…

When we’ve been hurt, naturally we don’t want to talk to that person, we don’t want to help them, and to be honest, sometimes it can go as far as us not wanting anything to do with them.
It’s the instinct of our flesh to hold a grudge, resent them, and possibly even seek a way to inflict pain on them, just so ‘they know how it feels’.

Most times, the memory of the scene or the words that caused the hurt, replays over and over in our minds, again and again, and for many of us it becomes something that occupies so much space in not just our minds, but our entire lives.
For others, actually we can do quite well ‘moving on’ and getting on with life without them in it, but failure to truly release that person and deal with our negative emotions towards them means that we still carry the hurt around with us and it only takes a mention of their name, or an unexpected encounter with them face to face, for all those emotions to come rushing back from wherever they were hiding.

Bitterness. Anger. Pain. Disappointment.
When we dwell on these emotions (and more) for so long, we find that we become consumed by them.
We become a different person; a negative person; a pessimistic person; someone who lacks trust in others because ‘all they’re going to do is just hurt us again like the previous person did!’

Shall we B R E A T H E…
Just for a second…

And remember one of the most cliché but important Truths of life;

God is Good.

And if God is good, it means His intentions for you are good, and nowhere in His plan did He write for you to be stuck in a rut, unable to forgive Jason because of what he did to you either last week, or 5 years ago.

God has enabled you to forgive others, and He holds your practise of forgiveness with great importance.

We ought to realise a few things about forgiveness:

  1. Forgiveness of others is a requirement for us to be able to receive forgiveness from God.
    As people who try not to, but still sin daily, the last thing we would ever want is for God to withdraw His forgiveness from us! But Jesus tells us plain and clear that if we fail to forgive our brothers and sisters truly from our hearts, we ourselves, will not receive forgiveness from God! (Matthew 18:21-35)
    Also read Matthew 6:12 and Mark 11:25.
  2. Forgiveness allows us to show a piece of Jesus to the person who wronged us.
    In many verses (you can check out Ephesians 4:31-32, Colossians 3:13)  we see that it says, ‘As the Lord forgave you…’
    When we forgive others, we actually show them a love that God, through Jesus Christ, showed us.
    We show them a love that says ‘I love you despite your wrongs’, and as humans, we need that love daily, because we sin and fall daily. The bible even tells us to make allowance for one another’s faults in the Colossians verse above.
    No, this doesn’t give them a pass to hurt us over and over again just because they know we’ll forgive them over and over again as Jesus instructs in Matthew 18, but actually, this love and this mercy we are able to show them could actually help them to also heal from any possible guilt that could be consuming them.
    The strength it takes to forgive, is definitely one that comes from God, so not only can your forgiveness encourage the individual to practise the same towards others in the future, but it can also point them to God to draw strength from Him too for whatever reason.
  3. Forgiveness liberates you.
    You don’t have to worry about how harsh you have to be to prove your anger, you don’t have to concentrate on making sure this person knows you don’t like them, you don’t have the bitterness eating away at you bit by bit, and you don’t have that strain on your heart from holding the grudge. Yes friend, Forgiveness provides spiritual, mental and physical freedom.
    When you forgive, you free yourself and you allow yourself to receive such a massive part of your own healing, because you have let go of the hurt, and left it unto God, who will deal with it perfectly, as well as continue to heal every one of your wounds.
  4. Forgiveness is an instruction.
    We see it spoken of so much in the bible, that it is clear that we have to learn to forgive, and do so genuinely.

So with that said, go before and ask Him to strengthen your ability to forgive.

Ask Him to give you a heart that can let go of wrongs, let go of sour memories of hurt, and let go of all bitterness, so that you can heal and move forward.

Your right to be upset should never be questioned, nor belittled, however let us always hold on to the fact that God wants us to walk amicably with one another, and therefore we ought to forgive each grievance, ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice’, and never get tired of forgiving.

Though sometimes painful itself, Forgiveness definitely is a beautiful thing.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.