by Pastor Greg Laurie
Then Peter came to him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?" (Matthew 18:21)
Talk about a person who had been wronged. Joseph's brothers had done all kinds of horrible things to him. They betrayed him, their own flesh and blood, and sold him into slavery. But through an amazing course of events that were directed by the hand of God, Joseph became the second most powerful man in the world at that time in history. One day, his brothers were brought before him - the very ones who had betrayed him. With one word, they could have become headless brothers. It could have been payback time for Joseph. But I love what he said: "Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people" (Genesis 50:19-20).
Did Joseph's brothers deserve to be forgiven? No. But if we resort to that kind of thinking, we must ask ourselves, "Do we deserve to be forgiven by God?" No. So we should forgive as God has forgiven us.
There is no point in burying the hatchet if you're determined to mark the site. Let it go. Forgive. Forget. Put it behind you. Move forward. If you refuse to forgive people who have wronged you, then you will become a bitter person. The problem with bitterness is that it infects those around you (see Hebrews 12:14-15).
If someone has sinned against you, you must learn to forgive. I know it is not an easy thing to do. But when you forgive someone, you release a prisoner - yourself.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.