Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “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” (Genesis 45:4-5).
Forgiveness. That is what the above Scripture is talking about. But how do we forgive someone who does such horrible things to us that our whole lives are changed because of them?
That is what happened to Joseph. His own, his very own brothers, tried to kill him and then, at the last minute, decided to sell him to a traveling group as a slave and then lied to their father that an animal had killed Joseph. They even put animal blood on Joseph’s beautiful, multi-colored cloak.
But seventeen years had passed before Joseph saw them again, and from what we read in God’s Word, we know he has totally forgiven his brothers. The question is how? How do we forgive others who willingly try to hurt us?
I heard a message from Pastor R. T. Kendall, who answered this hard question. He had gone through a horrible season in his life, to the point of quitting everything, when a dear friend came to him and said, “If you don’t forgive them, you will be tied up in chains the rest of your life. And you can’t just forgive them, but you must pray that God will bless them.”
I’m sure you are scratching your head, thinking this is utter nonsense and doesn’t make sense. Yes, you are completely right, but God doesn’t have to make sense to us to obey Him! Pastor Kendall’s friend reminded him, “The greater the suffering the greater the anointing from God.” But it must be total forgiveness, not partial, and when you obey God’s will in forgiving, your life will never be the same again.
According to Dr. Kendall, here are some ways to have proof you have forgiven:
- Don’t tell anyone what they did to you. Joseph had all the others leave his palace room when he revealed to his brothers who he was and what they had done. Of course, you must tell a counselor or trusted friends at first if this is a serious violation involving abuse, rape, etc.
- Make sure you and they are at ease whenever you are with them. Joseph told his brothers, “To come close to me.” Love keeps no records of wrong (I Corinthians 13:5).
- Don’t let them feel guilty. When Jesus came into the room where the disciples had hidden after his arrest and crucifixion, His first words were, “Peace.”
- Let those who hurt you save face. Joseph told his brothers, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8).
- When you truly forgive your enemy, you realize it is a lifetime commitment.
- When we bless them, God pours fresh anointing on you and me!
My prayer for you today is to forgive and bless anyone who has hurt you so that you will be free of the chains of bitterness, anger, and hate. God’s sweet love and presence will flow from you to others.
Lane Jordan Burday serves as a POP Talk Radio Co-Host, is coordinating a Pearls of Promise 52-Week Devotional, and is our POP Prayer Co-Leader. Lane Jordan Burday is also an award-winning best-selling author of the 12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Woman series of books. She is an international speaker, life coach, seminar leader, Bible teacher for 25 years, and an artist. She has served as the Associate Producer for the television program In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley.
Lane’s latest book, Evangeline, is a historical fiction based on the book of Esther. You can reach Lane at: email@example.com