4 Keys to a Forgiving Spirit, Part 2

June 21, 2009

Joseph is a great example for us in many ways. Not the least of which was his ability to forgive his brothers despite the great wrong of selling him into slavery. Last week we noted…

1. You don’t have to cover up the sins to forgive.

2. Remember your place.

Now we’ll learn two more keys from Joseph that will help us grow in forgiveness.

3. See God’s work through it.

Joseph said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). I don’t believe Joseph means God directly caused this sin in order to preserve people. No, the sin came because Joseph’s brothers meant evil. However, God, in His awesome power used it to accomplish good. That is how amazing our God is.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God works all things together for good. That doesn’t mean God directly caused all things. It simply means God uses all things. He even uses the sins of others for our good.

I’m not saying we should be excited about the sins of others with some kind of masochistic glee. However, as we look back and look at how we have been impacted, look for how God used these sins for our good just as He used the sins of Joseph’s brothers for their (and our) good.

4. Keep the relationship the primary thing.

I certainly realize that Joseph didn’t simply welcome his brothers with open arms right from the beginning. I know he tested them. However, I can’t read passages like Genesis 43:30; 45:1-5 without seeing that Joseph was thinking about the relationship. These were his brothers. He wanted that relationship restored more than he wanted them punished.

I can’t help but notice that not once does Joseph say, “Hey guys, remember that I told you that you would bow before me? Guess I was right.” The relationship was more important to Joseph than being right.

If we can keep the importance of the relationship in the forefront, we can much more easily forgive.

I know forgiveness is not easy. I know having a forgiving spirit is especially hard if the one who wronged us won’t even seek forgiveness. However, keeping these four principles in mind will definitely help us grow in forgiveness. 

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