"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen" Matthew 6:9-13 KJV
As we forgive our debtors, or as I remember forgive those who trespass against us may be the hardest thing to do in the bible. There are two reasons we need to forgive. First and foremost because God said so! It's all over the bible that this act, difficult as it may be, must be done. Ephesians 4:32 says "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." The second reason is for healing. Forgiving someone who has hurt you brings healing to not only your relationship but also to you.
I have a friend named Joe. His dad favored him, which made it uncomfortable to the other kids in the family. Joe always did the right thing and helped his dad a lot. When he was seventeen, his brothers took him out of town and decided they didn’t want him in the family any more since he was the favorite. They really wanted to kill him but they sold him instead. Can you imagine being sold by your siblings. I wonder what they did with the money. How much would you sell a person for anyway?
Ok, back to the story, my friend Joe lived with a family for many years. He pretty much did everything they asked him to. After some time and a bizarre set of circumstances, he ended up in prison. Knowing he was innocent, he just kept doing what he did best, the right thing. After translating Pharaoh’s dreams and helping him to make a plan for an upcoming famine, he was promoted to run the land and be second to Pharaoh.
Joe, aka Joseph (Gen 37-45) was sadly mistreated by his brothers and not only sold, but some of his brothers wanted him dead, why, because he could interpret dreams, one of which was them bowing down to Joseph. The reasons why he was betrayed is not the point of the story but I am sure we can all relate to being betrayed in some way, whether it be physically, emotionally, relationally. In some way we have all been hurt by someone.
But as interesting as the story of Joseph is, it is chapter 45 that amazes me. His brothers have come to buy food and Joseph knows it’s them, but they are unaware that it is Joseph. He reveals his identity to them in verses 5-7, he is telling his brothers not to be angry with themselves for selling him that it’s ok because a job needed to be done. In verse 8 it says “So it was not you who sent me here, but God”
So not only does he forgive, but he finds God’s will in this terrible series of injustices. He doesn’t even want them to feel bad about what they did. On top of all of that, he invites his brothers, yes the ones that wanted to kill him, to live with him and share in his blessings from the Lord. Kind of makes you think huh? I don’t know if I have the trust, faith, and peace that Joseph had, but I’m sure going to pray for it. Let’s hit our knees, shall we?
“Dear God, wow what a story. Thank You for teaching us about trust and faith. Lord, I now have such an amazing perspective on the wrongs done in my life. I have always known that out of the bad comes good, but Your will comes out of the bad done to us? That just takes my thought process to a whole new level. Lord, I pray everyone here will be honest enough to pray with me. Help me Father to forgive___________. I don’t want to by any means, but God, Your word tells me that if we don’t forgive, our Father in heaven won’t forgive us (Matthew 6:15). So help me, God, not only to forgive, but to allow You to change my heart that I may actually want to bless ________________. Wow did I just pray that? God, help my prayer on paper to be a prayer in my heart. I pray this in the name of Jesus…Amen”