The story of Joseph shows us the power of forgiveness. It allowed him to learn, hone his skills and grow in wisdom. Instead of growing bitter he grew better.
When betrayed by his masters he could move on. When forgotten by those he helped he could keep doing his best. And in the end, he could look beyond the greatest offense and betrayal from his own brothers and rescue his family and the known world.
Where did this power come from though? Was he just good-natured? Did he have feelings made of armor that he didn’t feel anything? Genesis 40:15 shows that was not the case.
I believe the answer is found in a profound statement he makes to his brothers.
Genesis 50:20 (NIV) You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Wow! Joseph had some kind of confidence in God. I’d like to say that I have matured to that level, but I’m afraid I am nowhere near. My response might be something like, “God I thought you had great plans for me, but it doesn’t look like that at all”. (Imagine wining and moaning as read that)
Joseph could look past all the bad and all the wrong that had been done against him because he knew there was more to the picture. He believed that what he was experiencing at the moment was only a small picture of God’s grander scheme. And that confidence allowed him to forgive, love, work hard, and succeed in the face of opposition.
Is it possible that the reason we can’t forget is that our eyes are only focused on the present circumstance? Do we withhold forgiveness and grace because deep down we feel like now is more important than later? Are you struggling to forgive because your vision of God and His plans are too small?
Do you want to heal and be able to forgive? Then you need to get a better view of God. You need to step back and see that right now is not all there is. God is at work in your life. It might not feel like it and it might feel like the offender is getting away. But like Joseph, you need to trust that the God who created you for a purpose is working it out for your good and His glory.