Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. —Ephesians 4:32
There are a lot of things God knows about any of us that we wouldn’t want anyone else to know. God has enough on any of us to bury us! But no one will never know any of it because God won’t tell.
This is precisely how you and I are forgiven: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). Our sins are “wiped out” (Acts 3:19). It is as though our sins don’t exist anymore— in fact they never existed…they are gone, gone, gone, gone! Insofar as our standing and security with God are concerned, they will never be held against us.
Joseph is sometimes referred to as Christ-like. A person in the Old Testament who, long before Jesus came along, displayed characteristics of Jesus Himself. Despite his imperfections, Joseph was indeed like Christ in many ways. His ability to forgive his brothers as he did foreshadows Jesus’ actions toward His disciples. Scared to death and ashamed over the way they had deserted Jesus when He was arrested, they were huddled behind closed doors when the resurrected Jesus turned up unexpectedly and declared, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:21). The disciples were totally forgiven—and they knew it.
We all have skeletons in our closets; some are known to others, many are unknown. It is comforting to know that God freely and totally forgives all of our sins and will never tell what He knows. That is the way Joseph forgave. And that is the why we are urged, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
What’s the benefit you ask? What about what they did to me you ask? As if the examples above weren’t enough – that Christ Himself forgave those who deserted Him, that Joseph forgave his brothers. Consider what Pastor Tony Evans shares with us:
The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. – Job 42:10 –
If you are familiar with the story of Job, you will recall that Job’s friends were not that friendly to him at all. In fact, when Job was at the worst of times, his friends judged, griped, criticized, accused and more. For Job, praying “for his friends” involved a lot more than asking God to bless those he loved and considered dear. It involved a significant amount of forgiveness, acceptance, humility and love. It also involved faith.
It wasn’t until after Job showed grace and kindness to those who had brought him pain during his greatest moments of pain that God restored him.This is because Job had obeyed the law of love and asked God to give His goodness to others. When Job did that, God gave goodness to Job as well.
See the lesson here is that forgiveness is FOR the one who GIVES it! Forgiving releases the bond you have on that person but it also sets you up for healing, restoration and peace over the pain that was inflicted on you.
So, you want to be over it? You want to move past that pain? ForGIVE it away and watch what God does FOR your GIVING!