Jesus Thinks Forgiveness is Important
Sometimes I am struck about how important forgiveness is to Jesus. In some case it seems to predicate our forgiveness (Mark 11:25). And other cases it seems that it protects us from the attacks of Satan (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). I recently came to new understanding on the power of forgiveness from the story of the Joseph.
Joseph’s Forgiveness Paves the Way
As the story goes, Joseph quickly goes from living under the favor of his father to being rejected by his brothers and living as a slave. His bad circumstances became worse in Egypt as he goes from slavery to prison. We must realize that just because we read this account in a few minutes of our time, Joseph life played out for many years. He had day after day to think on his rejection… to think of how life could have been.
So finally at the end of Genesis Joseph is second in command of all Egypt and his brothers come to him begging for forgiveness (Genesis 50:18-20). Do Joseph brothers deserve the forgiveness? Does Joseph have the right and power to execute judgment on them. God had elevated him to this position, could he now take his revenge on them? In the natural, we can answer yes to each of these questions. Joseph could have rightly executed his brothers for their sin.
But, this is the part that strikes me… If Joseph had done this, he would have killed the line that Jesus was going to come from. Jesus does not come from Joseph’s lineage. It is Judah. If Joseph had not forgiven Judah, our hope would have ended.
What If Jesus Withheld Forgiveness?
Think of Jesus statement on the cross (Luke 23:34). “Father forgive them…” Jesus, of course, has every right to withhold his forgiveness on the those actively killing him. If he withhold that forgiveness, we will all be left without access to God’s forgiveness.
Who Should I Forgive?
What I get out of all this is if I am withholding forgiveness on anyone for anything, I could very well be hindering God’s provision and plan for me and/or for those I care about. The path of life is found through forgiveness. We cannot neglect this. It is too important. If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them now. Forgive your enemies, your teachers, your father, your mother, your sibilings, your spouse, your boss, your children, your ex, yourself, etc. Be thorough. Forgive everyone for everything.
In human reasoning, you may have every right to not to forgive. But in the spiritual nothing will hinder you from experiencing the fullness of God more. If you are having trouble forgiving, ask God for help.
Forgiveness is An Act of Trust in God
As long as you are withholding forgiveness, you are trusting in yourself for your protection. This is a role only for God. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Forgiveness does not mean I will let you hurt me again. It means I will not hold myself as a judge over you. Again, this is God’s role not ours. And, if God finds it in His heart to forgive…
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.