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Failing to Forgive

Ignoring God's Sovereignty


I wonder often why it is so hard for some people to forgive. Sometimes it is excused because of the gravity of the offense. Other times it is excused because the offender has not yet apologized.

I’m sure that there are more reasons than these two, but reality is that Christians should always forgive. And no excuse is worthy of uttering. It is God’s will (as He has expressed and exemplified) that we are to forgive those who wrong us.

Nonetheless, there are Christians who do not forgive. And they have reasons. But unknown to them, are the true reasons for their not forgiving. One reason comes to mind in the story of Joseph’s revealing of himself to His brothers. It is found Genesis 45.

As you may recall, his brothers (except for Benjamin) sold Joseph into slavery only after they through him in a pit to die. Even before this they expressed hatred for him. Joseph, over a series of circumstances, is exalted to leadership in the Pharaoh’s house. And now is judge over his brothers.

When their paths met again, it was during a famine and the brothers had no food. Joseph was not angry or bitter. He did not have them put through the same trials as he. Rather, he embraced them and gave them an abundance of food.

Why was he so forgiving? He did not carry anything over them. He did not remind them over and over of their sin. He did not trouble them with vengeance. He forgave. Why? The Scriptures answer that with something most of us take for granted. “It was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:8).

God’s sovereignty was his reason for forgiving. Joseph saw that God was doing something greater than what he was seeing. God’s will was ultimate, not man’s.

I remember a story told by a pastor. He was putting his daughter to bed. Earlier that day a devastating tragedy occurred. He was grieved. Noticing his countenance, his daughter uttered some calm reminders of God’s Sovereignty. “Daddy, if God knows everything before it even happens, then He must have known about this. And since He was okay with it happening – I am okay with it, too!”

God’s Sovereignty should be one of the most motivating truths toward forgiveness. To deny one of their forgiveness, is to deny God being okay with what happened. So let’s remember that unforgiving hearts are reflections of denial of God’s ultimate control.

Posted by Jacob Abshire on September 4th, 2006 - 7:06 pm
Categories: Confessions
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