Devotions
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September 14, 2017, 5:00 AM

Forgiveness is releasing our fate and the fate of others to a power higher than ourselves.



But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21

 

Before Joseph asked this question of his brothers, “Am I in the place of God?”, a long history preceded.  His brothers, jealous of him since the time of his birth, sold him into slavery and left him for dead.  Before eventually rising to power in Pharaoh’s court, Joseph endured long imprisonment and was even punished for doing the right thing.  His story, filled with suspenseful twists and turns, is one wrought with hardship and suffering. If anyone deserved to withhold forgiveness, it would have been him.  Instead, when finally coming face to face with his betrayers, his own brothers, Joseph understood his place.  He understood that he was not God.  Now that he was in power, he could have treated his brothers harshly.  He could have taken vengeance into his own hands.  Yet instead, Joseph left room for God to work asking,  “For am I in God’s place?”

 

This simple question reveals a lot about how God desires us to see forgiveness. A healthy view of forgiveness can dramatically shift the course of our lives.  Rather than being weighed down by anguish and bitterness, we can choose to live a different way. Forgiveness is a cornerstone of our faith.   The entire life of Jesus assumes that God does, in fact, hold the guilty accountable.  This is both scary and a little satisfying, depending on whether or not you see yourself as the offender or the offended.  When I am the offended I easily forget that I too have been an offender. The truth is that all of us are both.  To give forgiveness, we must first truly receive it. Ultimately, forgiveness is releasing our fate and the fate of others to a power higher than ourselves. This does not absolve responsibility but leaves justice and consequence in its proper place – with God. Imagine Joseph’s story with a different ending. 

 

Instead of forgiving his brothers and releasing their fate to God, imagine that he decided to pay back evil for evil.  The temporary satisfaction Joseph may have felt in “paying back” his brothers would have paled in comparison to experiencing the power of God and His capacity to bring good from evil.  Because of God’s work through Joseph, many Israelites survived a famine. We have not been deserted.  Like Joseph, we can trust Him enough to forgive. Is there someone you need to forgive today? Often the most difficult person to forgive is ourselves.  If we deny ourselves this grace by continuing to live under a heavy weight, we deny God’s work for us on the cross.  Do you need forgiveness?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank you for freeing me from the bitterness of vengeance and vindication.  Lord thank you for Your grace. Jesus help me to live in a posture of forgiveness and humility.  In Your name Jesus.  Amen


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