Forgiveness

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good…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 50:20-21

Daily our hearts are hurt, sometimes by those closest to us and sometimes by strangers, no matter the source, the pain is still the same and what we harbor inside our hearts is what causes so many of our emotional and physical problems.  We are reminded in Colossians 3:13 about Christian forgiveness, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  Joseph epitomizes the virtue of forgiveness and we can draw some very practical points from his story.

  • Forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it can be a long process.  There are times that we must consciously forgive over and over again before our hearts release.
  • Forgiveness should not be dependent upon a confession.  Joseph forgave his brothers even though they were not totally truthful with him.
  • Forgiveness does not have to be dependent on an agreed version of the circumstances.  Joseph didn’t insist on a clear vision of the past and moved forward instead of “rehashing” it.
  • Forgiveness lets go of the human act of revenge.  Joseph had no desire to retaliate and illustrates this beautifully when he states, “Therefore don’t be afraid.  I will take care of you and your little ones.”  Genesis 50:20-21 (HCSB)
  • Being able to forgive does not mean we forget.  Only God can promise us that “He will remember our sins no more.”  Hebrews 10:17
  • Forgiveness means not “dredging” up the past.  It is human nature to let others know when we have been wronged.  What we need to remember is that although we can’t forget we can make the conscious choice to stop gossiping about it to others or belaboring it within ourselves.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we excuse the behavior.  Joseph states emphaticlly, “You intended to harm me…” Genesis 50:20  By making excuses we only cause bitterness to rule our hearts.
  • Forgiveness is easier, not easy, when we sit in God’s shadow.  The joy of being a Christian is that we don’t have to do this alone, in fact, God doesn’t expect it of us.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we trust immediately the one who has hurt us. Forgiveness and trust are two separate matters.  Trust is earned after repeated acts of behavior, it takes times.
  • Forgiveness is never complete unless love replaces the anger.  Joseph accomplished this with his final remark in Genesis 50:21 when he said “…So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.”

These words are simpler to write than they are to act on, it is easy to continue to harbor anger, hurt, distrust and bitterness against others but is that what God is really asking of us?  God asks us to forgive to protect us, we receive the most benefit from forgiveness.  When we release ourselves from anger we begin a healing process that breaks down the walls that can form between us and God.  He has given us specific direction and it is simple … FORGIVE!

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  Mark 11:25 (NIV)

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.”  Luke 6:37 (NIV)

Blessings today.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. Thank you Mary Ann for your teaching on forgiveness today. Lots to ponder over! Jesus modeled forgiveness to us by taking away our sins as He was nailed to the cross. His last words were loving. Forgiveness is motivated by unconditional love. When we forgive those around us, we are free from harboring the bitterness and resentment that can fester and grow and in time take root. I do believe that receiving God’s forgiveness and forgiving those around us remains at the core of what it is meant to be a Christian. Are we going to be Christ-like? Are we going to read the Bible, or truly live it? “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14,15).I’m learning that forgiveness is not an option. We are commanded to do this. Just like you said, it may not make everything all right, but it will allow us to let go of the hurt and then God can deal with the one who hurt us. Forgiving sets us free to move on. Most certainly, it is the healthiest thing we can do. Our love is what motivates us to forgive.Hugs, Lori

  2. Mary Ann I so love your thoughts on forgiveness today. The one I am pondering over is that we don’t keep dredging up the past, we let it go to God. I have heard Joyce Meyer talk about this and how if we keep talking about it it just keeps it in the forfront of our minds. We may have to make the choice to forgive over and over again but when we do our hearts will catch up with our decision. I think that’s true in anything. We have to keep telling ourselves the truth of the word of God and our feelings will catch up. We have to make that decision over and over again and one decision at a time we will have victory. Today I choose victory, today I choose to believe God over my own insecure voice, today I choose to not do what my flesh wants, but what God’s Word says. One decision at a time, day by day leads to a life of consistent victory. That is what I want in my life! ❤ Brandee

  3. (Repost – January 17, 2012)Just what I needed to hear today, Mary Ann. Forgiveness. Love the unlovable because God loved us when we were unlovable. In my reading God asked Hagar to go back to Sarai. In her natural self, that must have been hard for her to do – to humble herself to someone who mistreated her. But Hagar just had an encounter with God who assured her that He heard her pleas. So no matter how unloved she felt it didn’t matter because God hears and He knows. It comforts me that God hears me when I cry out but it also means God hears the cries of those whom I do not treat with kindness. Sobering thought.

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