Since my Bible Reading program decided either that we were perfect on March 1 or that God had nothing to say to us – see previous post – I used the text from last night’s revival services. It was a fantastic end to a great experience with God.
“So it was not you who sent me here, but God. God has made me the highest officer of the king of Egypt. I am in charge of his palace, and I am the master of all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:8 NCV)
If anyone had a right to bear a grudge, it would be Joseph, son of Jacob. His brothers’ replacement for killing him was selling him into slavery. He became a slave to an Egyptian official who was highly trusted until he suffered sexual harassment, only to be charged with rape because he showed integrity. Then, he spent numerous years in an Egyptian prison. Again, he led while he was in prison, only to be forgotten until Pharaoh had a dream he needed to have interpreted. Joseph came out of prison to interpret the dream, was elevated to high office in Egypt to deal with the upcoming drought, and then stood face to face with his brothers…the ones who had sold him into slavery. It was time for payback. Only, Joseph understood a bit about the workings of God. He forgave his brothers and let them know that God had a plan during everything that he’d suffered.
Let’s face it, forgiveness isn’t high on the list of American virtues. Americans don’t get mad, we get even. We love it when Worf reminds us that “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” We understand road rage, although we don’t condone it in others, of course…but our road rage is acceptable, because we have good reason. We don’t like it when we read the part in the Lord’s prayer that says, “forgive us our trespasses just like we forgive those who trespass against us.” True Christianity lives and dies on the sword of forgiveness. When I’m holding a grudge; when I don’t forgive someone who’s wronged me, not only do I stare daggers at that person, I’m not to good at showing love to other people as well. My relationship with God suffers until I finally get His gentle reminders that He has forgiven me far more than I need to forgive others. If you want freedom in your life, begin with forgiveness. I know you have a right to hold that grudge. I know that other person did awful things to you. But if you let that drive a wedge in your relationship with God, you’ve hurt yourself far worse than anything they can do to you.
Lord, I’ve been forgiven of so much. Remind me of that when I take offense and fail to forgive others. When I’m wronged, help me pass that wrong to You, forgive them, and help them experience Your grace.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.