Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Beauty of Forgiveness

I have been pondering more of the life of Joseph and am so struck by this powerful portrait of forgiveness.
Joseph had many years to relive, remember and recount the story of his brother’s abominable act of betrayal, which included throwing him in a pit and then selling him to slave traders.
Yet, many years later,
AFTER Joseph has risen from slave to servant in Potipher’s house;
and AFTER he was falsely accused of inappropriate behavior towards Potipher’s wife and thrown in prison for it,
And way AFTER he was forgotten there for years,
and then AFTER he was remembered because Pharaoh had a nagging dream and needed an interpreter,
Then finally, AFTER God gives Joseph the dream to interpret and Pharaoh raises him to second in all the land of Egypt......Then, yes then, when his brothers appear in Egypt to seek bread due to a famine in their homeland, Joseph is remarkably not a bit....bitter. 
Rather, he is so overcome with love and longing for this rag tag bunch that he has to leave the room to contain himself.
In place of the cold shoulder he embraces.
Instead of revenge Joseph blesses.
Instead of recalling all their legitimate offenses, he redirects them to God’s provision in spite of their actions.
Joseph’s hardships had brought him to a place where he could do the most good for others.
Even those who wronged him.
Because of his position, Joseph is able to bring the whole family down to Egypt and provide for them there with Pharaoh’s blessings.
After his father, Israel (Jacob) dies, the brothers become worried that now that he is gone, Joseph will take revenge on them.
Listen to his response to their concerns:
Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” 
Genesis 50:19-21
They say the heart never forgets.
Perhaps there’s is a person you think of often and wish things were right with.
A regret that has festered into a wound.
Maybe there were unkind words said or actions done. Or even far greater wounds were inflicted.
I know not all relationships can or should be restored. 
But, Joseph’s life holds out a promise of hope and a lighter load for all who are willing to turn the key in the lock that has kept them imprisoned.
1. Acknowledge the offense
Joseph says of his brothers,  “....you meant evil against me”
Wow. No sugar coating or excuses made here! They did! And maybe the person who hurt you did too...
Go on. Say it. Say it loudly if you need to! They hurt me!! It hurt! Tell the Lord all about it.
To deal with an infliction you have to first go to the source of the pain; but, it is imperative not to stay there! Quickly..move on to the next step!
2.Let God be God.
Joseph’s question , “..am I in the place of God?”, demands the obvious answer for all of us,- “No, we are not in the place of God.” 
God sees everything. Everything. Every heart, every motive, every intent. He is the Just Judge. Forgive and trust Him to take care of the rest. 
3.KNOW that God is good.  
Joseph’s conclusion is the key to not becoming bitter ”..God meant it for good.”  
Can God take really bad situations and make really good things come out of them? Joseph’s experience shouts a resounding, “YES!”  And He can for you and me too. As a matter of fact, it’s His specialty!
The past itself can be a chain that we need  loosed. To not let it keep us from experiencing God’s new blessings, we must do as one of my friend says in her New York accent, “Fahget about it!!”
Good advice.
The apostle Paul elaborates:
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,...”
Phil. 3:13
Today is a new day! What good things could be ahead for you and me..... today? I’m excited to hear, trusting with you that again, He is working all things together for His good!
*Today, finds me back on the medicine, which I began taking last night at half strength. 
Praying for minimal and manageable side effects!
This is the song in my head for today..:) Listen and be blessed!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B300gQkgDS0

10 comments:

  1. Lisa,
    Praying that the medicine will be just what is needed and no side effects.
    Love,
    Jeannie

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  2. Pressed to pray for you most of the day today. Trusting the Lord is at work, as always, to mend and heal! Love, Cathy T.

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  3. I appreciate the word you shared here to wait on the Lord as Joseph did. I've been thinking of you every day. Though you have a strong and solid foundation, knowing the road you're walking I (yet) want to encourage you to press in and press on 'looking at Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.' (Hebrews 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:11) Keep us posted on the effects of the medicine. Love - Cherrie

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  4. I love this song! I want to put it on "repeat" mode and dance around my home today praising God for all He has done. Music is such a powerful gift from our Lord. I read your blog to learn what to pray for you each day and desire to encourage. You keep blowing me away with encouraging me as you keep pointing me to Jesus, on whom my focus needs to be. As I dance today I will keep praying for you. I love you, Lisa! Toni

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  5. Praying that the new medicine, doesnt have that many side effects.. and your body will except it.. Love ya.. Traci

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  6. Lisa,

    I woke up at 2:45 AM 2 mornings in a row now with you on my heart. I am praying for you that the medicine will not cause any unbearable side effects and will kill the cancer!
    The Lord put this song on my heart for you this morning.

    Your Love Never Fails

    Nothing can separate
    Even if I ran away
    Your love never fails

    I know I still make mistakes
    But You have new mercies for me everyday
    Your love never fails

    Chorus:
    You stay the same through the ages
    Your love never changes
    There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

    And when the oceans rage
    I don't have to be afraid
    Because I know that You love me
    Your love never fails

    Verse 2:
    The wind is strong and the water's deep
    But I'm not alone in these open seas
    Cause Your love never fails

    The chasm is far too wide
    I never thought I'd reach the other side
    But Your love never fails

    Bridge:
    You make all things work together for my good.

    Thank you for this great teaching! I have been so blessed by all of your teachings!
    Love and Blessings to you and your family,
    Barbara
    Philippians 4:4-8

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  7. The Lord woke me up to pray for you at 2:30 a.m. This morning, so I did! I don't question his promptings anymore, and as I have to sleep in a recliner for the next 6-8 weeks as I recover from my surgery, The Lord has me as His captive, to listen and obey! Thanks for the blessing your blog brings to me each time I read your words, the Lord is mightily using you in your trials! Love to you & Prayers often, JoAnn

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  8. I read your blog and it gives me comfort to know someone else is going through the physical problems. At least you have a name and possible cure. See I was diagnosed with gastroparesis well that is what they called it and just stayed with that. No real treatment except pain meds. I started taking some enzymes and antioxants in hopes it helps I have lost 35 pounds because eating anything other then pudding, shakes, yougurt I cannot tolerate it. So I understand side effects and the fear of the unknown. I will always keep you in my prayers and hope that all good things come together for HIM. Love, Connie Moreno (volenteer at the childrens ministry)

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  9. How true it is that the past can be a chain. The past two years have been full of hurts and pains. At the time those hurts were occuring it was hard to past them and find the strength to forgive. Now with the advantage of hindsight I can see God's hand in the whole situation, growing and strengthening me and allowing me to see the "offenders" through his eyes. He's taking me to a new level.

    Thanks for sharing your heart and wisdom with us and know that Iliana and are thinking about and praying for you constantly :D

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