He who seeks revenge should dig two graves. Old Chinese Proverb
Life is better when we forgive. We know that but the struggle is especially difficult when the wrongs seem unforgivable.
Many times, forgiveness is involved in grief and loss issues. I know it has been for me.
A thirty-something woman sought counseling for her depression. It all started after her third child was born with a congenital heart problem. The baby wasn’t expected to live. After multiple surgeries, the infant was able to leave the hospital.
At eight months, the mom brought her baby back to Children’s Hospital for the final surgery. All were hopeful.
Then it happened. I don’t remember the medical details but I do recall the result—the baby died. A fatal routine error after a successful surgery was made by an attending nurse.
The family’s rejoicing turned to numbness and shock then anger.
The anger at the hospital continued to grow consuming this young mom. I met Melissa (not her real name) a few years after the loss of her child. Her bitterness turned to rage. Home life for the other children and her husband were miserable.
Perhaps you can identify with your own intense feelings of anger after being wronged. It could be a betrayal. It could be the unfair loss of a job. It could be a relative stealing money. It could be a doctor who missed the diagnosis.
The last few blogs we’ve been looking at the Old Testament character, Joseph, who had good reason for bitterness. He was a teen-ager when his God-given dreams turned into a nightmare, as his own brothers sold him into slavery. At his first job as a slave, he is falsely accused landing him in prison for several years.
Joseph’s unique gift of dream interpretation was in high demand when the Pharaoh had two disturbing dreams. His God-given ability to give the meaning of dreams was his ticket out of the dungeon.
Through God’s sovereignty, Joseph is promoted by Pharaoh to second in command. He was given charge of managing the crops during the seven years of prosperity as well as the seven years of famine. If anyone wanted to buy food they had to go through Joseph.
Meanwhile back in Canaan his family is starving. Jacob is forced to send his sons to Egypt in hopes of buying food.
And the person they have to buy the food from is none other than their brother Joseph.
Long before Joseph came face to face with his brothers, he had already forgiven them. Life in prison had given him a lot of time to work through the layers of forgiveness.
When the tables were turned and Joseph had the power to take revenge, he shocked his brothers by saying:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
Remember that forgiveness will set you free. Is there someone in your life that you need to begin the process of forgiveness?
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