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Have You Forgiven Completely? (5 of 5)
Series: Breaking Free
I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR WHAT God has done in so many lives during this series of teachings. The responses have been so varied and exciting to hear.
Here is one I received this week - Deb Poling's email.
The most frequent response however has been this, in the form of a question: How do I know when I have completely forgiven someone? Sometimes people have said, "I think I have forgiven my offender, but I am just not sure.
So I want to give you a grid through which, at least to some degree, you can determine whether you have completely forgiven and let your offender go. I can't think of any greater model for us to hold up as a mirror than the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. When Joseph forgave his brothers, he gives us the ultimate frame of reference to determine, at least to some degree, whether or not we have forgiven those who have hurt us, abused us, neglected us, and generally mistreated us.
Joseph is one of the greatest figures in history. God used him to save the whole nation of Israel, but life was far from easy for Joseph. He grew up in one of the most dysfunctional homes of the Bible. When he was a teenager, his brothers, in a rage of jealousy because he was their father's favorite, sold him to a caravan headed toward Egypt. The brothers then made up a story and told their father that Joseph had been attacked by wild animals. They even showed him Joseph's coat, which they had covered with the blood of a goat to prove their story.
Can you just imagine the rejection and the sense of betrayal that Joseph must have experienced? To be mistreated and betrayed is bad, but it is doubly bad when your offender is a member of your own family! And even though the situation was filled with terror, unjust treatment, and uncertainty, God was with Joseph.
It is pretty easy to think that even God has betrayed us when circumstances and people turn against us. Ther ...
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