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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Somewhere between versus 17 and 18 of Genesis 42, I can imagine this taking place…

Joseph is upstairs in his plush mansion in Egypt looking out a window, trying to forget the old wounds which were violently ripped open by the appearance of his brothers three days before.  Yes! trying to forget the wounds once again gaping, all the pain brought again to the surface.  Some twenty years it had taken him to forget how they sold him into slavery, how they had ignored his cries for mercy!  Then to be wrongfully accused and imprisoned on top of that?  But these past 8 or so years had finally been a balm to his pain.  Now he had a beautiful home of  his own, a wife and children and he was second in command in all of Egypt!  Now he had the power to really make his brothers hurt like he had, to show them what it was like to be stuck someplace they did not want to be! But that wasn’t the reason he locked them up to begin with.  It was for a test, not out of anger.  Still… No.  But…

Joseph turned away from the window, his thoughts and emotions swirling and confused.  He was a man of thought and decision and action, why was this so hard?

“Do you feel better now that they are locked away in prison as you were?”

Joseph turned to find the owner of the voice, but there was no form to go with it.  Nevertheless, Joseph recognized the voice at once.  “Yes!” He nearly shouted up at the ceiling. But then he diverted his eyes downward, sighing.  “No… not really.”

“I want you to treat them well.  Very well.”

“They don’t deserve to be treated well!”

“I did not ask you to treat them well because they deserve it.”

Joseph paced the floor. “They bowed to me.  Bowed! To me!  Just like in the dream that you gave me!  And I know it is because of you that I am out of prison and second in command in all of Egypt.  And with the famine in Canaan, too, well… it only makes sense that they would come, and would come to me… that the dreams and promises you gave to father would work out through this… but that doesn’t mean I have to be nice to them in the process, does it?”

There was a sigh from the voice. But it was a tangible sort of sigh.  Joseph stopped his pacing and looked around again.  There was a figure sitting upon the window sill, silhouetted by the sunset outside and yet radiating light at the same time.  Joseph made the only appropriate move, he dropped to his knees and bowed.

“That is irrelevant,” the voice responded to Joseph’s previous rant. “Neither the past things they did to you, nor the future things that I am working out through you matter.  You should do this simply because I am asking you to…”

Joseph’s story is a multifaceted masterpiece. For every person who tries to imagine what he or she would do in that situation, there is a new way of reading between the lines of the story presented to us.  Did forgiveness come easy to Joseph, or was it a difficult wrestling that took years? Was it somehow both?  But my reading today – vs. 18-25 – brought me to this point: Whether dealing with forgiveness or something else, sometimes the reason we must do it is simply because God asks it of us.  Not because they deserve it.  Not because we’re in a “better place” now.  But simply because God asks us to…

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So I am finally trying to get around to this list of a half dozen or so “blog ideas” that I’ve been collecting for over a year!  Figured this one should be short and sweet.

Late last spring I heard a Sunday School teacher teaching on 1 Corinthians 13.  And I can’t remember where or when she said this thought struck her, but she mentioned an analogy or word picture for the whole love “keeps no record of wrongs” part.

A cache.  Like in a computer.  Like in your web browser history.  Forgiving someone (and keeping no record of wrongs) is like clearing your cache – clearing out your web browser history and cookies.

The picture struck a chord with me.  And not only that, but my mind continued on further…. including remembering how a pastor in California once included in a sermon how we can’t move on and forgive when we keep rehashing (rethinking and retelling) the incident.

In many browsers, though I am now most keenly aware of it in Google’s Chrome, if you start to type an address, it will fill it in for you from places you’ve been before (your browser history).  In fact, with Chrome, you can type the website name and even as you start with a few letters it knows which sites you visit the most and will fill in the rest for you…

These browsers have an amazing memory.  Unfortunately, we as humans also tend to have an amazing memory when it comes to ways in which we were hurt or wronged.  It doesn’t take many keystrokes for our memories to pull up the places we’ve been hurt.  Just a few keystrokes and there it is again, that place we were wronged.  And, like Google’s Chrome browser, the more often you visit the site, the quicker it comes back.

This is great for web browsers, but bad for us as Christians.

1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love “keeps no record of wrongs.”  We are called to love and we are called to forgive.  Now, forgiveness doesn’t mean that we excuse the wrong done, or sweep it under the rug, or immediately trust and have an intimate relationship again – but forgiveness does mean that we choose (by the power and grace of God) not to hold the wrong against the person who wronged us, not to hold onto a grudge or take revenge.  In other words, to keep no record of wrongs.

The old song relays God saying to us:

What sins are you talking about
I don’t remember them anymore.
From the Book of Life they’ve all been torn out
I don’t remember them anymore.

 

God forgives and chooses not to remember.  To keep no record of wrongs.  To clear the cache.

And we as His followers are called to do the same.  So allow God into the “preferences panel” of your life.  Allow Him to adjust your settings.  Delete the browser history, get rid of the cookies.

Keep no record of wrongs.

Clear your cache.

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