I’ve written quite a bit about our need to forgive others. However today I want to take a different slant and talk about what does it mean to move on when others have forgiven us.
Have you ever had a friend or a loved one who asked for forgiveness and who truly repented and did their best to bring restitution? Even though they hurt you, you forgive them and offered your hand in reconciliation as you learned to trust them once again. However, that individual kept bringing up the past issue and you found yourself distrusting that person’s original apology.
I’ve been reading about Joseph and his brothers. To say that the brothers’ relationship was complicated is an understatement. In his youth, Joseph used his position as his father’s favourite son to his advantage. Combined with his father’s obvious favouritism and his taunting his brothers through the misuse of the gift of dream interpretation, Joseph landed in hot water. His brothers had enough and took the nearest opportunity to get rid of him.
What his brothers had meant for evil turned out to bless the young man. His years in slavery and prison humbled Joseph and prepared his character to be able to withstand the position that waited for him, second-in-command of the nation of Egypt. Not only did Joseph grow physically, but he also matured into a man of great wisdom and favour.
In the meanwhile, Joseph’s brothers lived with the ramifications of their betrayal. Their father grieved for years, presuming a wild animal had torn Joseph to shreds. The brothers knew their brother still lived, but as a slave. The guilt of their sins against their brother and father weighed heavy on their hearts.
Many years later, through God’s providence, the brothers were reunited. Joseph had obviously forgiven them. Before he gave them his full trust, he observed their behaviour, then ensured that the whole family was brought together despite their weaknesses. When Joseph finally revealed himself to his betrayers, he did so not with harsh accusations but with love, forgiveness, tears, and reassurance. Overjoyed, the brothers feasted together! Joseph gifted them with the finest land for their livestock and made sure they had enough food through the hard years of drought.
After Jacob’s death, Joseph’s brothers feared that he would turn against them because of their evil act decades earlier. And so, the brothers approached Joseph, begging his forgiveness.
I imagine those tears were ones of sorrow over his brother’s need to bring up a situation he had long since forgiven and moved on from. He said to them (Genesis 50:19-21 NASB), “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about his 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.
When God and others forgive you, live fully in that freedom. Refusing to trust their forgiveness and to trust yourself is a destiny killer.
When we repent, we must accept the truth that in God’s eyes, at least, we’ve been given a clean slate. We don’t need to prove to God that we are worthy of His forgiveness. Quite frankly, we aren’t, not by our own merit, at least.
Receive this brand new clean sparkling slate with gratitude, but not a grovelling sort of gratitude. You’ve been given a great gift, a new foundation on which to build a new life. Build on it so God can look back and say, “Hey, look at what my child did with the freedom I gave them.”
Determine to better the lives of those around you by living without the fear of the other shoe dropping. Who the Son has set free, is free indeed.
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Until Next Week,
©2021 Katherine Walden