The Power of Forgiveness

Est. Reading Time:

6 minutes

Forgiveness is a fundamental characteristic of a disciple of Jesus. It is paramount to our faith in terms of the cross, and the hope in a King who left Heaven to die for His creation upon it. Without forgiveness, we would be a lost creation, destined to live a finite, empty life. But with His forgiveness; infinite, eternal possibilities are now available to man.

As a disciple, we know this…and yet, this is still quite difficult at times. It’s not always easy to just forgive and move on. We may continue to play the hurt or the betrayal over and over in our heads, and the need for retribution can sometimes outweigh our call to be His ambassador. This is where the enemy wants you to be. He wants you to be focused on what you think you deserve, and what you think should take place as recompence for the infraction caused to you.

The reason he wants you to focus on this is because he wants you to miss this very important point about forgiveness: When faced with these difficult decisions, and we take the time to approach the Father in prayer to help us get to a place of genuine forgiveness, we will in fact set a prisoner free. That prisoner is ourself! We will no longer be held to the consequences of that encounter, regardless of who is at fault, or the emotions attached to it because the cleansing power of the Son will wash away any current stains and cover it with His love.

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

Sometimes, this requires a season of healing on our end, but He has promised to see us through those times as well. After all, He wants us set free, so we can live a free life under Him, and lead others to His freedom.

The act of forgiveness can sometimes be a complicated mess. Sure, we face instances where someone has caused some type of infraction, and even though there was a negative outcome, we know this person did not truly intend us harm or has been sincere in their apology. Because of this, we feel confident if faced with a similar situation in the future, this person would not choose that path again. In these cases, we find it easy to “wipe the slate clean” and give an exonerative type of forgiveness.

However, sometimes we are faced with the type of forgiveness that leaves us a little gun shy. There has been some partial type of apology provided, but somehow the inflictor has become the accuser and the actions on their part have been caused by the offended party. For example, young Lucy was told by her teacher to apologize to little Timmy for hitting him. Lucy looks at little Timmy and says, “I’m sorry Timmy, that your annoying singing caused me to hit you.” Timmy may leave that situation with an emotional flinch reaction now, every time he is around Lucy. He will almost certainly not sing around her for a while.

When we forgive, we also pray to God to help heal our flinch factor as well. We develop these sometimes, due to no fault of our own, but we do own the ability to take them to the Father and allow His power to work through us, and our “flinch” responses.

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Forgiveness has always been a vehicle God has used to further His will on Earth. True, this is a learned habit, but it is also a sign of a spiritually mature heart who is in tune with God’s will for their life. It is a sure indicator that the disciple is actively incorporating Jesus’ instruction in their life.

Joseph was one great example of this. His brothers were jealous of him, and so sold him into slavery, but only after a plan of outright murder was talked off the table.  Once sold off, Joseph landed in a  home where he was assaulted by his master’s wife and wrongly accused of indecent actions. This caused him to be thrown into jail. While there, one of the King’s servants asked for Joseph’s help on behalf of the King. Joseph gave it, and then was forgotten about in prison.

All this time, with every incident that happened from the time he was sold into slavery, Jospeh must have been thinking about his brothers, right?! Especially Judah, who was the mastermind behind the plan.

Many years later, an adult Joseph is presented with the perfect opportunity to get back at his brothers. He is now in a position of authority and can carry out retribution for all the wrongs that he had to endure because of the evil in his brother’s hearts. Jospeh, however, due to a life lived actively trusting in God, has seen what God has done with his life.

 He has also seen the change in his brother Judah. Before, this man plotted to get rid of Joseph, now, he weeps in anticipation of his brother Benjamin not making it back to their father. Judah had grown, and Jospeh recognized he was not the same man. This was the final straw that led Jospeh to what we see below in verse 4. Reading the rest of the story, we see that not only did Joseph’s heart save his family in a great time of need, but the remnant in Egypt of God’s people were saved by this same man’s faith in God.

Genesis 45: 4-8 “4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”

The power of forgiveness is imminently more potent than we could ever imagine, and every single disciple of Jesus has access to this amazing power! 

2 Corinthians 4:15 “For it is all for your sake, so that as Grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.”

Leave a Reply