The Forgiving Heart (Jan 22)


Quote from Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

January 22
The Forgiving Heart

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 14:1-7 | Genesis 44:1 – 45:28 | Matthew 14:13-36 | Proverbs 4:11-13

Today’s Scripture Focus: Genesis 44:1-45:28

“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you . . . . God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4-8 NIV)

Does God, in his sovereignty, use the unjust acts of humans for his purpose? Does God, use painful, hard times to prepare us for the things he has planned for us? Does God really work out all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose? All things?

That is exactly what Joseph believed. Despite the injustice and pain of being betrayed, abandoned and sold into slavery, Joseph knew that God was using that event for a greater purpose. Joseph could see the hand of God in it all, and he grew through the experience. The tough times in Joseph’s life were the very things that caused growth and maturity of character. They were the things that caused him to trust God and become the leader God was preparing him to become.

Understanding this truth, allowed Joseph to release forgiveness to his brothers. I’m sure that the work of healing had long been done in his heart—he had already dealt with the matter and brought the injustice, pain and hurt to God. For these are the words of a man whose heart has found healing and wholeness, not the words of someone who refuses to forgive and holds on to anger or bitterness.

When people hurt us, we are sometimes tempted to withhold forgiveness, thinking we retain some power over those who have hurt us by refusing to forgive. But the truth is, we cannot hold on to these things—they eat us up inside. The need to forgive deeply from the heart is a daily need (Jesus taught us that in the Lord’s Prayer). As we take the hurt to Jesus, he helps us to forgive and move beyond the pain, the anger, and the bitterness.

When you are hurt, take the wound to Jesus. Place it in his scars and allow him to take it from you. Allow him to enable you to forgive. Then you will find freedom—
a heart that is free. Only a heart that has found such healing is able to deal with the situation with the maturity we see here in Joseph.

Yes, God uses even the hurts from difficult people and the wounds from difficult circumstances to accomplish his purposes. Forgive those who’ve hurt you and move on. Expect that God will use even this to prepare you for the good things he has ahead for you.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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