The Three Faces of Forgiveness – Part 3


Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture

Gen. 45.8 – “So it was not you who sent me here,but God.”

When I look as this account of Joseph and His brothers, I’m not too sure I understand what true forgiveness is – especially as it is demonstrated in this case. I must confess in general, I do not forgive so lavishly. I do it in a much more restrained way – taking a “let’s see” attitude before I let go completely. That is why I am so glad for this demonstration. Without it, I would tend to think God forgives like I do – with reservations, & not the way Joseph did. His example speaks to us of the outrageously free forgiveness we receive from our Father, and from the Son our sins nailed to the Cross. And this is brought home with unusual force in verse 24 – “Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way.” Shame over our failures, even after the receipt of forgiveness, often rises within us at a later time. If this shame and remorse is responded to sinfully, it will find us trying to justify ourselves again. This we do by trying to lessen our own sense of shame and remorse, by pointing the finger at others, and magnifying their sin over ours. The Devil, taking perverse advantage of the situation, will actually use it to produce unforgiveness and judgmentalism in us. Strange, sinful creatures we are – aren’t we? Indeed. What then is the answer? Joseph warns them they will be likely to end up in this quarreling situation, and admonishes them not to do it. But how do we not? Humility. Yes, humility. In what way? In simple rejoicing over our glad forgiveness, receiving it humbly and joyfully, rather than looking in any way either to mitigate or soften our original offenses, nor in seeking to comfort our own consciences by elevating the sins of others over ours. Simple, plain, humble, glad reception and rejoicing in – sins freely forgiven. Its almost too much to take in, isn’t’ it? We still feel like there is something undone when someone else suffers loss on our account and won’t permit us to make it up to them, or at least make it look less fierce or cruel or as sinful as it really was. But this is precisely how God wants us to respond to His genuine, full and free forgiveness. Not like the forgiveness itself creates a new debt – but as it really is; a forgiveness that sets completely free. That is how God forgives, and that is the face he wants us to wear when we forgive too. God grant me grace.

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