Friday, May 22, 2009

Human Forgiveness Commanded


Ge 50:15-17
15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of
f the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

...I wonder how often the sons of Jacob thought about what they had done to Joseph. This verse comes after Jacob dies. Even after all the graciousness shown, the brothers still fear for their lives.

These weak, lying liars used messengers and the name of their dead father to manipulate forgiveness from Joseph. The offender always remembers, it seems. How could Joseph let them off the hook when he had it his power to take revenge? He could punish them if he wanted...

But look at Joseph's response: he wept.

I submit: weeping is not the response of a man nursing a grudge. This is not the response of a man struggling with a decision. This is a man that is living in freedom but broken hearted over the imprisonment of his bothers.

When Jesus was on the Cross, He said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." This was Jesus' natural response. Jesus was being squeezed with all the might of the forces of evil and this is what comes out of Him: "Father forgive."

What comes out of you when the squeeze is on? I know what comes out of me: self-pity, anger, cursing, hate, thoughts of revenge, and an impulse to indulge in things that are destructive but give momentary pleasure (or relief).

This is the condition of my heart.

Contrast with what came out of Jesus when the squeeze was on Him:

"Father forgive."

This is the condition of His heart.

1 comment:

Vicki Small said...

Powerful, Bryon. The condition of your heart is shared by most of us, and I question the veracity of the others! But for the cross, the grave, and the resurrection, we would die in that condition. Transformation does not happen overnight.

"Thank you for the cross, Lord!"