The Secret to Forgiveness

business man with axeI have been mistreated, manipulated, lied to, slandered, stolen from, insulted, humiliated, threatened, and devalued.  All by people who were supposed to look out for my best interest.  Every day I see their faces something knots up in my gut.  Sure I can smile, but slowly this anger eats its way through my soul.  Even my wife commented, “seems like you are just an angry person.”  How do you forgive wrongs that give you a fresh slap in the face every time the sting from the last one is fading?  How do you forgive wrongs that leave you with damage or baggage that you must now deal with every day, and now every day is a constant reminder of that wrong?

Yeah, I was an angry man… till yesterday.

I read about Gen 37, 39-End culminating at 45:5.  “Don’t be distressed for selling me here… it was not you who sent me, but God.”  God knows what we need to make us the best we can be.  Don’t you want to be all that you can?  To stand before God at the end of your life and have him say “well done”?

You can’t get in shape without working out, and you can’t learn to play the piano without practice.  It takes pain to grow.  God knew that Joseph could rule a country, save the known world.  God also knew that Joseph had to go through some rough times to grow to the point where he could do it. Throughout those years as a slave and the years in a filthy prison Joseph somehow maintained a good attitude – he must have or he never would have been put in charge of each place.   In the end, Joseph realized that God had a plan.  What his brothers intended for evil, God meant for good.

Intended is an amazing word.  Not a mistake.  Not last minute save by a God caught unaware.  Intended means a plan.  That is one of the most amazing gifts God can give us.  That he will mold and shape us and make us what we could never be without him.   Sadly it takes some pain to get there, growth is never easy.  Wonderfully not an ounce of that agony is wasted.  It’s all poured into the creation of the ultimate you.  Sadly, much of that pain comes from others, or our own carelessness or stupidity.  *Let it go.  God has a plan to use each thing in an incredible way.

Suddenly I am not as concerned with the abuse, only excited about how God is going to use it to make me more than I dreamed I could be.  Let them throw their punches I will gladly take every one.

A note from years later: God has vindicated me.  The lies are coming back to haunt the tellers, the slander and insults are making the tellers look like fools, and the thieves are caught and awaiting punishment.  Suddenly those that were so high and mighty are grovelling.  Instead of abscessing about them, I had prayed for them.  I wonder how Potiphar felt when Joseph was suddenly his boss – after leaving him to rot in jail unjustly for so many years.

*The bible talks a lot about forgiveness.  This forgiveness is not forgetting.  It’s not letting the guilty go unpunished.  It’s not continuing to be the recipient abuse.  To forgive is to choose not to be angry.   Justice is not decided by you; God says he’ll step in.