Forgive And Forget

“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”

Genesis 50:15-21

Jesus 70 X 7 kind of forgiveness is something that when it is offered completely baffles the human mind. It’s almost beyond our ability to comprehend because we know we are undeserving of it. We have all been at one time or another where Joseph’s brothers are here in the story in the book of Genesis. We have wronged somebody and they have forgiven us but the relationship is still strained in a sense due to our inability to believe we are truly forgiven, because we know how our own mind works. It’s been said of America, “We are not a people who truly forgive, we simply forget.” We have a tendency to even say at times we have forgiven someone only to bring up the offense again at a later date. Joseph’s brothers are assuming that is the case here. They have this suspicion that their brother will finally be able to “get even” now that their father has died. They must be thinking Joseph was just delaying his gratification of vengeance on them all these years? Why, because that’s what they would have done. Like many people, they harbor ill in their heart and then lie in wait. Sad but true!

Joseph is a portrait of grace and how we should all respond when others treat us unfairly. It has been said that when we forgive we stop trying to play God. I like that analogy. God is the judge, the only righteous judge, who, if He gave us what we all deserve, we’d be in hell right now. But the bible says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” When you and I forgive one another we release others from our own personal judgment. That doesn’t mean the person isn’t guilty, it just means we are not going to stand in judgment over them because that’s God’s job and besides, I know how much God has forgiven me. Our problem at times is “we judge other people by their actions, and we judge ourselves by our intentions.” Its been well said, "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die". How soon we forget that forgiving others sets the prisoner free, and that prisoner is you and me! Yes, friend, Jesus response to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22 is best, Matthew 18:21-22, "Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Remember, loved one, those who love much have been forgiven much.

"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool."

Isaiah 1:18


Michael Osthimer





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