Have you ever been in a situation where you have been offended and the person in question does not see any reason to ask for your forgiveness or plead with you. In this case, you might become pissed off and wonder if the person can be forgiven. The scripture has rightly given us examples of what it is to forgive, the benefits and how we can become victorious as we forgive one another.
The first case study I will like to speak about is that of our Lord Jesus, the one who lived and died forgiving us all. Jesus the son of God was sent to pay our debt in spite of our ingratitude and desire to continue in sin, he died on the cross for us to inherit life in abundance. He did not die for our sins because we had done good deeds to him or to another, infact the scripture describes the wickedness of man to be terrible and unthinkable.
Man was in a state of shame; no man was worthy of being called good until Christ came for us all. He bore our pain on his body and healed us by his stripes. This is indeed amazing that one who has no sin in him should bear the sin of all who were Our lives have been changed and eternally transformed because God forgave us and, in this light, we are meant to live our lives unto God forgiving others who have offended or wrongfully used us. Now, having received forgiveness for our sins, we have become whole, new and clean. We have been redeemed from all forms of death. Jesus gave us victory. Now the question we have is, what is true forgiveness?
It is important to understand what true forgiveness is as portrayed by Jesus because he is the best example we can ever follow and we ourselves have to live our lives just like he did show examples to unbelievers who still live in sin so that they can come into this new life and enjoy the unlimited access to divine fellowship and that brings about fruitfulness in every area of life and destiny. From the scriptures, there are practical examples of men who have lived a life of forgiveness and they have inherited the promise as a result. The truth is we cannot separate love and forgiveness because it is love that beget forgiveness and this will produce peace with man and God
The situation Joseph the son of Jacob found himself was a typical case of forgiveness and the victory that came as a result. Joseph was loved by his father and this was evident in the way he was treated by him, in fact he gave him a coat of many colors that made his siblings very envious of him as if that was not enough, he also had dreams that portrayed his greatness and the fact that his own brothers will bow to him. This had accumulated over time and had made his brothers seek for a way to displace him and his so-called great dreams they think. A day actually came when they wanted to displace him and his dreams as they have planned; Joseph the favorite son of Jacob was thrown into a pit and later sold to the Egyptians. His lovely coat was stripped off him and dipped in animal’s blood to portray his death.
Now, Joseph was a slave sold out by his own blood brothers just because of envy and jealousy. He was all alone in a strange land but we were made to understand that God was with him. Joseph had quickly disposed the pain of rejection and betrayal showed by his siblings towards him and had quickly forgiven them without fear. That is why God’s presence couldn’t depart from him. We know that the Lord cannot behold iniquity and the presence of God with Joseph reflects his heart of love and forgiveness.
When we have every single reason not to forgive and it seems as if we are supposed to revenge, God’s love calls us to let go and let God take charge instead of our emotions and desire to see evil done to others who have hurt us too.
After a while, Joseph was elevated by God and he became the prime minister of the land of Egypt; that was beyond human imagination. God was actually working something out for him all these times but it took faith in God’s promises and in the truth that had been told him to stand strong.
Joseph, even in the pit knows he was forever loved and cherished by God and he will accomplish all that God has said concerning him even when it looked like all hope was lost.
Having risen to become the second in command, he was reverenced by all men he even had the privilege to revenge on his brothers as they came during the famine looking for food which they needed to feed their families. Joseph could have imprisoned them and kill them without any stress since he is in power but the love of God constrained him. This is the love that births forgiveness
It takes the love of God for Joseph to overlook all their offences and still fill their sack to the brim with food just to ensure they had enough to feed their families; though he sought to know if they had truly repented from doing evil and that was why he put a test on them.
Joseph forgave his brothers, accepted them and provided for them despite their wicked acts against him. It is important to note that Joseph didn’t forgive them the very day they came looking for food, he had forgiven them as long as after he had been sold as a slave that was why God’s presence did not depart from him.
Don’t forget that God does not dwell in the zone of bitterness, anger, envy or jealousy. God dwells where love, joy and peace are found and that was what endeared Joseph to God and his awesome presence. When Joseph was thrown into prison by his boss, Potiphar, he continued to live in God’s presence, he forgave Potiphar and his wife. When Joseph was in the prison, he interpreted the dreams of the King’s butler and baker. This he did by the spirit of God inside of him. Though the butcher promised to recommend him to the king when he returns back to the palace but he totally forgot.
It is easy for men to forget you even when you just helped them a few seconds before they have the opportunity to help you, that might not sound good especially when you have so much depended on them as the one who would help you; that’s why our help should never be dependent of men but of God. God must be our anchor even in turbulent times, do not forget that God rules the affairs of men and he directs/controls the heart of Kings, if you bow to the kings of the earth instead of God, you will be surprised that no matter what, they don’t have the capacity to elevate you to God’s desired future for you.
If Joseph had bowed before Potiphar’s wife and had affairs with her just to retain his position as the head of the slave in his master’s house, he would have missed God ordained place for him as the prime minister of Egypt and the ‘savior of the world’ because many would have died from the famine that happened for seven years.
Forgiveness comes easy when your trust is not in man whose breath is in their nostrils. Joseph’s father couldn’t have brought him this far, neither could his brothers nor Potiphar’s wife even the butcher who worked with Pharaoh and promised to recommend him could not; only God did.
God is capable of lifting your head when your trust is in him and not in mere men whose breath is in their nostrils. Men have frailties and because of this it is not advisable to trust in man.
This is because we have seen some profess to have forgiven one another but they still vent anger towards the fellow whom have offended them in the past and most times, they seek for a way to revenge. This is not the God kind of forgiveness; the forgiveness that seeks the hurt of those who had hurt them in the past or secretly desires evil to happen to them is not true forgiveness.
Therefore, as we go on, we will explore what true forgiveness is and how we can live a life devoted to forgiveness and letting go of all hurts done against us. Most importantly, we must not only forgive others but also ourselves especially when we have done something wrong to our own selves or others and we feel it was our making that such happened.
True forgiveness is freely given as a gift of the love that inspires it. True forgiveness comes from following the footsteps of Jesus Christ and all that he did for us; It is sourced from true love which was not earned by neither the one who was forgiven nor the forgiver. True forgiveness comes when you allow God’s love to overwhelm your heart and mind such that you can release the pain in your heart to the extent and level that it does not define any aspect of your identity. This means you no longer identify with the action and the pain it had generated.
In true forgiveness, we let go of resentment and give up any claim to be compensated for the hurt or loss we have suffered. Unselfish love is the basis for forgiveness.
To truly forgive, we need the help of the Holy spirit who is our senior partner, teacher and guide; Without his help, we will struggle with unforgiveness and the pain it causes.