by David Burns

Forgiveness: Unless We Forgive
David Burns
2 Corinthians 2:5-11

You know one of the most harmful and destructive forces in the church today is the inability to love and forgive other people. That makes us liable to destruction. When you fail to love your neighbor, when you fail to love someone that's hurt you and forgive them you're becoming liable to destruction because you're sinning and that sin will destroy you. God tells us to do the opposite. God tells us to destroy whatever is devoted to destruction. What's devoted to destruction? Fear, sin, a lack of love and a lack of forgiveness.

I want to call your attention to Joseph as he said to his brothers, ''I am Joseph your brother whom you sold unto Egypt,'' and last week we kind of finished up the story of how everything unfolded and at the end, how they came back to him fearful that since their dad had died that Joseph would retaliate and take out his anger on them now that dad wasn't around to keep the house in peace.

I thought about this as I considered why it is so important that we forgive when we have been wronged. I would say that a fellowship this size and looking around at people, that we are all about the same kind of makeup really. We've all been wronged at one time or another. Somebody has said something or done something that has wronged us. And as we look at Joseph he was being sent into misery by being sold into Egypt as a slave and I wonder how often he must have thought, ''Here I am in the darkness and filth of this prison,'' anticipating not much in his future. But somehow he knew that God was going to work through this and prepare something more glorious than what he was going through.

I wonder as he went through that long time of everything going wrong and dark things happening if he really knew what would happen; what was his final destiny. When Joseph forgave his brothers he revealed a long-term attitude of the heart that allowed his suffering to become his strength. Have you ...

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