Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free to Forgive: If Joseph did it- so can you...

Genesis 45: 4-5; 15
"I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you...

...And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him."

On our anniversary, my husband and I went to a show put on by Sight and Sound Theaters portraying the life of Joseph.  It was awesome, to say the least, and I highly recommend everyone taking the time to go see it.

There was something really special about seeing the life of this man in "real life".  It's easy to read through the story in Genesis and make light of the severity of experiences that Joseph lived through.

But beyond the severe dysfunction of Joseph's entire family, the betrayal by his brothers, being sold into slavery and totally disowned, and spending years of his life in jail...there was something glorious about the story of Joseph.  Sure, he had high points in his life as well - being second in command to Potiphar and Pharaoh, having all of Egypt at his fingertips, and being powerful beyond any man...his real moment of power came at the very end of the story.

His real moment of power came when he forgave.  You never consider the anguish that Joseph must have experienced when he finally saw his brothers again after years of isolation.  The betrayal, the pain, the rejection and the heartache that came with seeing their faces and hearing their voices.  You never consider the memories that must have come flooding back, and the feelings that he had managed to stuff away for years.

For Joseph, seeing his brothers again opened the flood gates of the pain in his past.  Pain that was so severe and unjust.  Pain that he had carried around for many years.  Pain that he was no longer willing to claim as his own.   

It's hard to wrap my brain around this kind of forgiveness.  Forgiveness that is not granted based on the merit of the one(s) receiving it.   Forgiveness that is not based on the abilities of the one releasing it.  It is forgiveness founded solely in a supernatural grace that Jesus Christ bestows upon his desperate children. 

He bestows it because he understands the salvation that comes when we are able to let go.  He bestows it because He knows how un-forgiveness can rot the soul and destroy the spirit.  He bestows it because he knows that ultimately, that is where freedom can be found.  He bestows it, because he too has been rejected, abandoned, forsaken and misunderstood...yet he forgave. 

It's true that unforgiveness is like an acid that destroys the container which harbors it.  It's easy to become that tight-sealed container, holding on to our bitterness for dear life.  But at the end of the day, for us to truly be men and women who are free- we must be willing to pour it out.  We must be willing to let go of the power that others have over our lives on account of our bitterness. 

Not because others are deserving of our forgiveness...but because we are undeserving of bitterness.  We deserve better than that.  We deserve freedom.  We deserve peace.  We deserve forgiveness. 

Lord, grant us the power to forgive. 


  1. Lovely Deb. What a beautiful reminder to not hold any ill thoghts toward any man/woman. I find that sometimes people can carry resentment without ever being aware that such thoughts weigh heavy on their hearts. Praise God FOR GIVING us the ability to forgive. It is a gift. It is wonderful to be able to release the toxic feelings that can often live with us for years, bringing us farther away from God and our loved ones. I pray that everyone who reads this will be able to recognize this ability that our Father has prepared for his children. And to know that God lovingly holds us in the palm of his hand always, despite our many faults.


  2. Thanks for your thoughts Denise, and for reading! You are so right in saying the ability to forgive is a gift....

  3. i read this awhile ago but it came crashing back to me this evening and i had to come and read it again. forgiveness is tricky. god forgives us even though we don't deserve it. sometimes knowing just how much we don't deserve it makes hard to accept his forgiveness and often times makes it hard to forgive ourselves...

  4. Deb,

    I really enjoyed your thoughts on this. I know this isn't quite related, but my favorite part of the whole Joseph lesson is "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." - Genesis 50:20. I think the verse applies to the spirit of forgiveness exhibited. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Blair- You are so right about this....but forgiveness of others is directly linked to forgiveness of self, and vice-versa. For some reason many times it can be easy to pardon others....

    Andrew, I also love that verse....I almost used it as the theme verse, but I figured that verse was a lesson in and of itself.

    Thanks for reading all.


Love to hear your thoughts...