A Nugget from New Life Network
(excerpts from Bob Gass Ministries)
Scriptures for the Day (May 10, 2018)
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:15)
Have you ever been hurt by someone that is really close to you. If you have, here’s something you need to know in order to move forward. The person who hurt you may never offer an apology in the manner you desire. After Jacob cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright, things got so bad between them that Jacob went to live with his Uncle Laban in Haran. Later in life, when both brothers had become wealthy and successful in their own right, Jacob decided to seek reconciliation with his brother. At first Esau refused to accept his brother’s gifts, but when Jacob persisted, “Esau finally accepted the gift” (Genesis 33:11, NLT).
Notice, Jacob never said, “I’m sorry I stole your birthright; please forgive me.” Basically he said, “I’d like to try and make amends.” At this point Esau showed real maturity by valuing his relationship with his brother over his right to exact revenge, and the family was united. There’s a lesson here. God wants us to grow up and exercise spiritual maturity. We can’t control what others do; we can only control our response. Furthermore, if we insist that someone apologize to us—in a certain way—the relationship may never be healed. As a result, we will be left holding a grudge. And holding a grudge is like holding a hot coal; it will keep burning you until you let it go.
For example, you may want your spouse to apologize for their behavior. But if instead they buy you a gift or do something extra nice for you, respond with grace instead of judging either their methods or their motives. In other words, “close the account” and move forward.
When Joseph was seventeen, his brothers sold him into slavery. When he was thirty, Pharaoh made him ruler of Egypt. Joseph suffered terribly at the hands of his brothers; now he held the power of life and death over them. Yet he chose not only to forgive them, but to feed them in the time of famine. It’s one of the greatest examples of forgiveness in history. As they stand trembling before him, Joseph says:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children. So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them” (Genesis 50:20-21, NLT).
Notice four things: (1) Only God understands people’s hearts, therefore only He is qualified to judge them. (2) As you become more mature, you’ll be able to see the hand of God at work in some of the situations you’ve been through; you’ll see the “good” in them rather than the evil. (3) Because you have grown spiritually, you’ll acknowledge that others are capable of growing and changing too. (4) Because of the favor and blessing that God has given you, you’ll not only speak kindly to your offender but be generous toward them. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, NKJV).
Are you willing to do that? Are you at least willing to pray, “Lord, make me willing?”