By Lisa Nordell-Detres
One of the most amazing Bible stories is Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers for hating him so much that they sold the 17 year old into slavery. For the next 20-some years, Joseph lived as a slave in Egypt, experiencing both success and hardships, but always recognizing God’s presence and providence. Years later, Joseph had risen to the Egyptian pharaoh’s second in command and finally had the opportunity to punish his brothers. Instead, he chose to show mercy to his cowering brothers and declare that God had sent him to Egypt to save the lives of his family. (Gen 37; 39-47)
That kind of maturity and forgiveness is not a natural occurrence, in human terms. God showed His forgiveness when He took on human skin and became the man, Jesus Christ. He lived among us with the specific purpose of offering Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for all the wrongs humanity had ever committed and will ever commit, with the exception of the sin of unbelief. Jesus allowed mankind, His most precious creations, to beat him beyond recognition and then nail Him to a cross. Jesus lovingly repeated “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they do,” during that gruesome ordeal.
The Bible provides some other great examples of what forgiveness looks like, both to forgive and to be forgiven. The two are interdependent as Jesus weaves them together in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matthew 6:12) Forgiving others frees us from the burden of holding another’s sins against them while accepting God’s forgiveness frees us from the impossible burden of justifying ourselves before God – the righteous judge.
Have you asked God to forgive you? It’s as easy as saying, “God, I have done wrong before you and I ask that you will forgive me. Please help me to forgive those who have done me wrong as well. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, I ask this, Amen.”
Now, as Jesus would say, “Go and sin no more!” (John 8:11)
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother or four, pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.