Forgiveness. That's a big word isn't it? How does it look like to you? I wrestle with this word and the act of forgiving itself as my small group would say is a 'ninja power'. I think of forgiveness as essentially saying, okay buddy you are off the hook. What you did hurt me and its not okay but we are good. It can be summed up as 'you will not be held accountable anymore and I am letting you get away with it.' That makes me feel like I'm letting them take advantage of me and its not a good feeling.

where night meets day by gagilas

Holding a grudge is so much easier isn't it. That way I can feel entitled in my pain because I have been hurt. The flip side is that holding a  grudge can be consuming. It consumes all the goodness in us. We find ourselves out of sorts because we are not at peace. We find ourselves consumed with thoughts of revenge that really do not bring any good outcome. The point is, a grudge never did anyone any good.

I was reading about Joseph and how when his brothers came down to buy food in Egypt he threw them a party and never took their money for the food they bought. Whoa now that would have been the perfect opportunity for payback, seriously like I can just imagine the things that he could have done instead of extending grace and essentially forgiving them. Here he is pretty much the king of Egypt after his own brothers had sold him to slavery. Lets not forget that they intended to kill him until his eldest brother Reuben intervened.

When Joseph reveals who he is to his brothers he tells them that they were not the ones that sent him to Egypt but rather God did. Genesis 45:5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. I know with much certainty that this would probably have not been the approach I would have taken. I would probably have been laughing at them saying things like karma!!! The reason I'm saying this is because I'm recalling things that people have done to me that have hurt me deeply but are in no way close to the things that Joseph's brothers did. The feelings I had coupled with the chance of an opportunity for payback would have been bad friends bad!

Instead here we see a man who always feared God above everything and who had the wisdom to know that even at the darkest point of his life God was always a constant. In the highs and in the lows of Joseph's life he always recognized that God was the constant variable. That is why he was able to take a step back and see things as God had intended. I am sure that realization did not come to him in the spur of the moment. He must have thought about it and prayed about it over time for him to come to the conclusion that though his brothers had wronged him deeply and stolen his childhood when they sold him, God had a plan for him (remember his dreams...its interesting how God works and things come full circle).

He extended forgiveness where many of us would have understood and even applauded any revenge he would have taken against them. Friends, forgiveness is tough. It takes a lot from us. I'm sure we have all been hurt by people we trusted and they cut as deep. The call to forgiveness is big, it requires humility. However it's only through forgiveness we can see the bigger picture. We don't have to reconcile with those that have wronged us as Joseph did, but we can let it go and be at peace. I can only hope that I will remember Joseph's extra ordinary move when I am faced with times that require forgiveness.

Listening is loving....

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