Tuesday, June 15, 2010
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.
Lessons Learned by Debra Fileta at 4:32 PM