“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.Forgive as the Lord forgave you’ – Colossians 3:13
“I bow my head before the Polish victims of Germany’s tyranny. And I ask for forgiveness”. Words spoken yesterday by German President Frank-Wlalter Steinmeier on the anniversary of World War II. As leaders gather to commemorate the memory of the victims in the Polish city of Wielun, a minute silence was observed in the city where the first German bombs fell. 80 years on from the start of World War II, Mr Steinmeier condemned the ‘”desire to annihilate” that led to the attack as Poland suffered some of the worst losses in history which saw about 6 million people of its citizens killed. As we enter a new month, have you been asking for forgiveness? has it been so long that you feel there is no way out?
As Christians, the concept of forgiveness is one that is widely preached and understood as an act we should actively engage in. However, it is perhaps one of the most difficult fruits to exercise. Throughout history, we have seen major atrocities which defy forgiveness. Everyday in the word;d, we hear and see stories of acts of great evil, and even in our own lives. A man in the bible who experienced great pain from the hands of his ow family, was Joseph. Joseph was the youngest of twelve siblings, and most loved brother by his father Jacob. At 17 years old, Joseph was enjoying the life afforded to him when he had two dreams which made his brothers jealous. These dreams were of his family bowing to him, and the implication of his supremacy angered his brothers so much so, that they sold him into slavery.
Imagine a young man like Joseph living in a house filled with love and not knowing any hardship or anything less. Now the people he trusted the most in the entire world had sold him into slavery, He was feeling dejected, rejected and abandoned. Subsequently, Joseph faced many challenges, such as being accused of rape, and going to prison (Genesis 39). While all of this was part of God’s plan to elevate Joseph’s name and make him second in command in Egypt, next to Pharaoh, Joseph at the time probably felt neglected and forgotten. But Joseph did not hold a grudge. Instead, ‘he kissed all his brothers and wept over them’ (Genesis 45:14).
You might have been or are in a situation where forgiveness seems like it will never come, or you might be the one who cannot forgive. You might have gone through abuse, or adultery, or the loss of a loved one, or mental illness, but through it all, God is working on and around you. Joseph is an example of forgiveness and redemption and just as he was able to forgive his brothers, so must you forgive your perpetrator. Forgiveness allows for growth and God wants to elevate your name to higher places.
Therefore this week, forgive. Forgive that friend, that colleague, that family member, for God is calling you to a higher status.