Saturday, February 16, 2008
Forgiveness and Sovereignty
"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good..."
After the death of Jacob, Joseph's brothers assumed that now, when it could not hurt his father, Joseph would take well-deserved vengeance on them for the way they had treated him. To their credit, they did acknowledge their sin against him, offering to be his servants. But with Joseph, there was never any thought of revenge, since He was able to see the hand of God behind the wrong he had suffered.
People cannot forgive because they cannot acknowledge the sovereignty of God in their lives. Someone may have wronged us, purposely even, as Joseph's brothers did, but they did not outwit God to do it. And since everything that happens to a child of God is working for his or her good (Rom. 8:28), we can well afford to be generous with our forgiveness, as Joseph was.
If we somehow cannot get a handle on this, there will always be a streak of bitterness in us that will defeat us and defile others (Heb.12:15b). Worse still, when we come to God the Father, He will deal with us similarly (Matt.6:14&15).
There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.
-- S. W. Shaw