Spiritual Musings

forgiveness and pain

Don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourself for selling me. God was behind it. Genesis 45:4

Forgiveness brings with it a warm feel-good glow  when you take the high road in life. Like when you smile and wave at the guy who cuts you.

Of course, the glow takes longer to feel in a situation that requires more effort to forgive.  But with time, you almost always experience the joy of forgiveness.  That is unless you were betrayed by someone you loved, by someone who ripped your heart out and then stomped all over your life.  Forgiveness in this scenario doesn’t bring with it any panacea to your pain. Years later, the pain of betrayal will still be able to squeeze every tear and every breath out of you.

Joseph was but a young man when his brother betrayed him. Years went by; life was good. Luck and God both seemed to be on his side. His professional and personal life couldn’t have been better. Overall, only good had come out of the entire experience. He could even see the purpose behind the injustice he had endured. So, both in his heart and in his head, subjectively and objectively, he believed and knew that it was all meant to be.

And yet the pain of being betrayed was so strong. The first time he sees his brothers, “he turned away and cried” (42:23). And it wasn’t some kind of a closure; the next time he meets them, it was worse–”his sobbing was so violent” (45:2). Joseph’s pain was still as raw as it had been the day he was sold to strangers by his brothers.

So, the realistic fact about forgiveness is that it doesn’t necessarily make you feel better about what happened. But it does make you feel blessed and loved by the One who counts.

Personal Ramblings

reaching the point of total forgiveness

It’s been several months now and I truly thought I was over it. That I’d forgiven and moved on. That is until I found myself in my car, right behind her in her car.

The urge to rear-end her and send her to the ER and the car to the junk yard was near overwhelming. I know, I know. . . She and the rest of them will get their just reward one day. But I want that day to be today so I can witness it and maybe relish it just a little.

Vindication would make forgiveness so much easier.

Spiritual Musings

picture of forgiveness

When I saw your face, it was the face of God smiling on me. Gen. 33:10

Imagine  back-stabbing, birthright-stealer Jacob’s anxiety as he journeys with his family to meet Esau: He is in the middle of the desert with everything and everyone he loves dearly. He is vulnerable and scared. He has regrets and knows he deserves only death at the hand of his brother. Like the dry, open desert terrain around him, he is parched from his yearning for forgiveness.

With no option but to face his brother, he decides to play the I’m-truly-sorry card to the hilt. First he prays like never before. Then, he sends ahead of him a generous peace offering of his finest cattle. Next he lines up his family in order of favoritism (being pragmatic he figures  his illegitimate children should take the bullet if necessary). Finally, he puts into a play a clever obeisant mind game–Everything he does and says when he is finally face to face with his brother speaks of subservient humility: he bows seven times in honor, he calls him “Master,” he cries.

And here’s how Esau responds: When Jacob bows, Esau hugs him; when Jacob says “Master,” Esau responds “Brother;” when Jacob cries, Esau cries with him.

In that act of forgiveness, Jacob sees in Esau’s face God smiling upon him!