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The Power of Forgiveness: Learning to Forgive Others and Get Back to Living Again
Forgiveness heals the brokenhearted
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. There comes a time in everyone's life where we may feel we are rotting away in a prison. No way out. No answers. No ultimate purpose.
No where else in our emotions is it hardest to comprehend the magnitude of forgiveness when we have been persecuted or wronged unjustly. But we must remember, forgiveness delivers from oppression. Forgiveness strengthens, even when we feel like dying inside from weariness.
Joseph's story in the book of Genesis in the Bible is a great example showing God is greater than the fears of not wanting to forgive those who have wronged you. Joseph faced ultimate upheaval and betrayal, abandonment and the fear of being forsaken. After he realized his brothers had sold him into slavery, the gut wrenching emotional damage of being forgotten swiftly followed the young man as he was drug away from his homelands, through the desert into Egypt.
It's hard to imagine family can do horrendous acts. The Bible says a man's enemies are they of his own household. When you have been hurt so deeply it is hard to trust people again. In the book of Genesis, it shows that God blessed Joseph, from the moment Joseph strode into Egypt God's was with him.
God's ways are just. He knows how to balance the good and the bad, how to protect his children. Even the Pharaoh knew of God's virtue in the life of Joseph. "Thou shalt be over my house, and according to my world shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou." Genesis 41:40.
Joseph went from a cast off brother, to bitter slave, to leader of a household, to abandoned jail keeper and to a leader of a kingdom under a mighty pharaoh. Just when he had settled into marriage and fatherhood, and had learned to live in a strange land, the past came rolling in again.
Joseph had been sold and presumed dead. So when Joseph saw his brothers in Egypt trying to get food because of a famine, suddenly all of the anger and betrayal he had experienced years earlier came flaming in violently. In his own way, he took out vengeance. He had one of them jailed, and the brothers were forced to go back home empty handed to retrieve their youngest brother, Benjamin.
When they came back with Benjamin, Joseph accused them of being thieves. As they bowed the knee to him, begging for mercy, Joseph suddenly realized a truth. "Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren." Genesis 45:1.
Shocked and slapped in the face would not describe the horror in his brothers hearts as the realization sank in of the truth of that day. They sold him into slavery, thinking they could forget their past jealousy. And now there they were, groveling on their knees for food to a mighty ruler they had no clue was their actual brother they had forsaken years earlier. Regardless, all of the brothers did forgive one another, and God allowed healing in their lives and relationships.
The truth about the story of Joseph has multiple meanings. You cannot hide from your past or sins and we all face times of persecution. Regardless of what you face in life, God does have a purpose. What evil means to destroy, God will only use it to perform a divine miracle.
Through everything Joseph had to endure, he knew God was in control. In times of uncertainties and heartache, God shows through Joseph's life story that love and forgiveness do go hand in hand. Against all odds, God proved that day he is a God of love and mercy; he does answer prayers and delivers.
Do not think you have been left abandoned. Your time in trials and sufferings can be used to show others around you of God's never ending compassion and provision. Look at the story of Joseph: God does not forsake his people. He loves you. "Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful." Psalm 116:5.