Forgive who? Did you know it is a sin to not forgive someone? Not only that, it robs you (not the other person) of joy and blessings from God. Someone may have said something or did something, and it hurt. It still hurts! If you don't forgive and get over it, you will become angry and bitter. Nothing destroys spiritual growth and your relationship with God more than bitterness. Many stories in the Bible refer to this. We can talk about two briefly, Joseph and Jesus.
Genesis 37 talks about Joseph being an annoying younger brother who was also a tattletale. He often reminded his older brothers of a dream that he kept having that one day they would all bow down to him. Oh, and don't forget that coat of many colors that made him stick out like his father's favorite. Jealousy turned into hated towards Joseph. They decided to kill him, and then they realized that they could make money by selling him as a slave.
Genesis 37:27 "'Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay out hands on him; for he is our brother, our own flesh.' And his brothers listened to him." NASB>
Joseph probably had some issues with being beaten up, thrown into a cistern, and then sold into slavery, don't you think? He may have even had a grudge as he sat in that Egyptian prison.
Genesis 39:20 "So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there int he jail." NASB
Did he hold it against them? We probably would be grumbling under our breath that when we got where we're going. God works in very unique and mysterious ways. Joseph went from prison to the palace. An even more unique is the story of how Joseph made up an economic plan to help Egypt during the upcoming famine, and was put in control of the food supply.
Genesis 41:41 "And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.'" NASB
When his brothers ran out of food and came to Egypt to buy food - they had to stand before Joseph, (but they didn't recognize him).
Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers:
Genesis 45:4 "Then Joseph said to his brothers, 'Please come closer tome.' And they came closer. And he said, 'I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.'" NASB
Joseph goes on to tell them that he forgives them, for if they hadn't done that, he would not be in position to help his family. Even after Joseph forgave his brothers, they still feared him. Especially after their dad (Jacob) died. They begged Joseph to forgive them. Joseph wept in response.
Genesis 50:15-21 "When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, 'What if Joseph should bear a grudge against us and pay us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!' So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, 'Your father charged before he died, saying, "Thus you shall say to Joseph, 'Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, 'Behold, we are your servants.' But Joseph said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.' So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them." NASB
This is one of the first times that forgiveness is mentioned in the Bible. We all want forgiveness, but often don't consider giving forgiveness.
Luke 6:37 "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned." NASB
Withholding forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It doesn't work like that. Withholding forgiveness not only interferes with your blessings and joy, but can also create overwhelming negative feelings within our own bodies. They were never designed to handle that kind of stress. There are many hurts out there: maybe you were raped or molested, robbed, betrayed, rumored about, lied to, etc. For Christians forgiveness is not an option. It is a command.
Colossians 3:12-13 "And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you." NASB
Jesus not only commanded it, He modeled it for us. The day Jesus was crucified he was mocked, beaten, betrayed, arrested, hung on a cross and had other cruel things done to him. Yet Jesus responded:
Luke 23:34a "But Jesus was saying, 'Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.'" NASB
The unique thing here is to notice that people didn't ask for forgiveness - He just gave it to them. Yes, it's nice when someone apologizes and asks for forgiveness - but the example Jesus set for us is to forgive freely.
Ephesians 4:32 "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." NASB
We don't deserve it and often don't even ask for it - but He loves and forgives freely. This takes a very humble attitude which Jesus had, and we should try to have it too.
Every day as we grow closer in having a personal relationship with Jesus and our heavenly Father, we should also be developing the characteristics of Jesus (our model for life on earth).
Created By Julie Robinson
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Sunday, July 15, 2018