Why forgiveness needs faith
It was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve your lives. — Genesis 45:5b NLT
They tried to take his life. He ended up saving theirs. The part of Joseph’s story where the dreamer turned slave turned prisoner turned top leader under Pharaoh meets his estranged brothers who flee to Egypt, Joseph’s new and now forever homeland, speaks to forgiveness and faith.
You have heard what I have. Perhaps you’ve even said it. “I can forgive, but I cannot forget.”
Forgiveness is forgetting. It is completely letting go of a past injustice, a painful wrong. There is no more memory of it. There is no more residual.
Joseph extended forgiveness to his brothers. How’d he do it? The answer may surprise many because his life was plagued with great hardship at times. Someone without faith must have looked at him and thought, or even shared to Joseph that, based on his present circumstances, faith in God didn’t seem to be doing much good in Joseph’s life.
It’s true. Joseph did not have an easy life. What Joseph did have, however, is what we can have, too. This is the faith to see past whatever hurt surrounds us and know that, despite the pain in the moment, God is at work.
God is at work. With faith in God to remedy or realign a past pain in our lives, forgiveness is far more than possible. It’s actual. For forgiveness to actually happen though, we need faith. This faith is not in ourselves; this faith is in Jesus, the very One whose act of forgiveness set us free from sin and death to endless life and abundant joy.
PRAYER: Lord, you preserve our lives. In the moment, or when something really hurts, endless life and abundant joy may seem distant, or impossible. Help us understand that faith in You is the first step, the key step, toward forgiveness. And forgiveness as experienced by Joseph, the one you sent ahead of us? This leads to abundant life and endless joy. Amen.