So, how is life treating you these days? Everyone acts nice, talks nice? When you’re on the verge of a misunderstanding the other person is kind and courteous? Other people respect your opinions and overlook your few, insignificant flaws?
No? There are a few thorns in your path of life? You feel irritated, just thinking of it now?
Take a look at one person who had ten good reasons NOT to forgive someone. Try to put yourself into this person’s situation; imagine how he must have felt and how he must have reacted.
- 1. They laughed at you and ridiculed you in front of others.
- 2. These guys didn’t believe you, but you did tell the truth.
- 3. Your brothers spoke ugly about you to ruin your reputation.
- 4. They ganged up on you and assaulted you.
- 5. They threw you into a pit and left you to languish.
- 6. They sold you into slavery.
- 7. As a result you wound up in a foreign country.
- 8. In an ugly confrontation you were falsely accused.
- 9. You were thrown into a foreign prison, forced to hard labor.
- 10. As a result you missed seeing your parents for many years.
So, how did this mistreated young man react? Take a look at the facts, then see if you can gain any insight and encouragement for yourself.
This shocking experience is related in the Bible, in Genesis 37-50.
Remember young Joseph. God gave Joseph two significant dreams. His brothers, even his parents, were not thrilled to hear that they were going to someday bow down to him.
Were those dreams a comfort to Joseph when he was sold into slavery and taken to a foreign land? Did God replay them to Joseph at night as he slept in prison, those 13 long years?
All we know is where Joseph was and what he was told to do, he made the best of the situation. He must have whistled as he worked. He must have been a peacemaker around the other prisoners. He must have used his mind as well as his energy to do good. He must have trusted God.
What would you expect a believer to do? Carry on. Smile because you know God is going to do something for you. Smile because you love God and He loves you.
Finally, Joseph was released from prison and promoted to the Number Two position in all of Egypt. What a celebration there must have been. Picture him with great presence of mind, calm composure before the rest of the royal court. That first night, in the quietness of his comfortable new bedroom he probably said, “Oh, God. You are most certainly trustworthy. You did what You said. Now I’ve got a whole new set of circumstances. I’ll need Your help to do all the work that must be done.”
And you remember the next part of the story. Later, his brothers came to the court, not knowing who this Number Two man was. They asked for food for their needy families struggling in the famine in Israel. Read the story. Picture the men bowing to the Number Two man in all of Egypt.
Again, Joseph is calm and composed. He isn’t angry, vengeful, or even proud or haughty. Wisely, he allows the brothers the opportunity to demonstrate their changed attitude.
See the joyous reunion as the shocked brothers find out who the man is, and are assured that he has long ago forgiven them. See how graciously he underscores the grace of God. “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20).
What does this mean for you and me? Is there anyone who has done you dirt? Were you put in a disagreeable position that you didn’t deserve?
Did you react with quiet composure, tell the truth with great grace and calm yet determined spiritual maturity? That’s what God desires for you.
Did you forgive the person or persons who have mistreated you? What if they are miserable, unbelievers? Did you let God’s love shine from your heart towards them?
This might be the day for you to have an earnest talk with your Heavenly Father. Confess your less-than-wonderful attitude. Want Him to forgive you? Then you must — and can — forgive them. God empowers you to do what He calls you to do.
Yes, circumstances may change for the worse, but can you hold your faith? Can you do the menial job with a smile? Can you trust God to take care of you? Do you have ten good reasons NOT to forgive?
Maybe your problem is just an object lesson for someone to see. Maybe other pieces of the puzzle are starting to be put into place, but you’re in a dark dungeon and don’t see it yet.
Love God more than you cherish those old hurts. Trust God more than you trust your own ideas of what to do and how to do it. God loves you! ❤
by Elaine Hardt ©2006