Weekly Scripture: Genesis 45:1-15
Forgiveness is a powerful force. We can bring life and hope back to someone by offering them forgiveness. We can also keep people imprisoned in shame and guilt by refusing to forgive them. We have all needed the kindness of a pardon enacted on our behalf. All of us have experienced being wronged and, in turn, we have been able to offer or withhold mercy. Forgiveness can be emotionally and mentally confusing. We have been harmed and that harm cannot be taken away. It might have significantly changed us, maybe even negatively. Perhaps we feel like the act of forgiving someone lets them “off the hook” too easily. Yet, one of the deepest spiritual calls in the Christian faith is the call to forgive – even more so, to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Think about a situation in which you were wronged. How did you feel inside? How did you feel toward the person who wronged you? Have you been able to forgive that person? Why or why not? Now think about a situation in which you wronged another person. How did you feel inside? Were you able to ask for forgiveness? Why or why not? If so, how did the offended person respond and if not, how do you think they would respond?
Forgiveness does not mean blindly forgetting what has been done. In fact, to truly grant clemency to someone, you must face the injury or wrongdoing in the stark light of truth. To forgive is to say, “Yes, you have hurt me, but the power of God has overcome the power of this injustice. God’s ability to redeem and heal is greater than your ability to hurt me.” Because of this, we can forgive someone who has not expressed remorse or regret. Is there anyone who has not expressed remorse whom you still must forgive? Ask God to bring you closer to this place of mercy as you receive the healing power of the Holy Spirit.
It is reason to rejoice when our acts of pardon lead to reconciliation. It cannot always happen for various reasons. As far as it depends on us, we should attempt to reconcile with others. However, we can only make that decision for ourselves; if the block to reconciliation comes from the other person, then we must leave it in God’s hands. Reflect on the image above and on the mental image from our Scripture this week of Joseph clinging to his brothers’ necks, weeping for joy in their reconciliation. Now imagine you and God in that embrace of reconciliation. How might you extend that merciful reconciliation to others? Christ has forgiven us; let us be so generous with our own acts of pardon.
Breath Prayer: LORD God, have mercy on us.
Music Credit: The Calm, Written by Stephen Keech, Performed by Stephen Keech, Produced by Stephen Keech, Licensed via http://www.soundstripe.com.