What Forgiveness Can Do

Matthew 10:16-23

The story of Joseph is perhaps one of the most popular Old Testament stories. In fact, it was made into a play named “Joseph the Dreamer” 

Joseph was the 11th child of Jacob. His stepbrothers were envious of him because he was the favorite of Jacob, and so they sold him as a slave to Egypt and told their father he died.

As a slave, life was hard. In fact, he was even jailed. However, due to the God-given gift of interpreting dreams, he eventually became one of the most powerful men in Egypt.

One day the Pharaoh had a dream of 7 fat cows being devoured by 7 thin cows. He also dreamed of 7 healthy wheat plants being covered by 7 unhealthy wheat plants. Since Joseph was able to accurately interpret the Pharaoh’s dream and prophesize that Egypt would experience 7 years of rich harvest and then 7 years of famine and drought, he was made Governor of Egypt. He was able to guide the country in good times and difficult times. 

It was when he was governor that he met his brothers again, who travelled all the way from Canaan in search of food. The story ends with the whole family moving to Egypt and Joseph being reunited with the brothers and their father, Jacob, because of one very difficult decision – he forgave his brothers for what they did.

One of the most difficult of all Christian teaching is forgiveness. When Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive seven times, which already meant a lot in the Jewish tradition, Jesus responded not only seven times but seventy times seven. In other words, not forgive many times but forgive always.

My dear friends three of the many reasons why we should forgive always.

  1. Science tells us that many of our sicknesses come from negative emotions. Imagine subjecting our body with anger and unforgiveness 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Think of what effect this has on the heart, among other human organs? That is why in the Gospel Jesus would always say when healing, “your sins are forgiven”.
  2. Life is short and swift. Notice people who cannot forgive – they cannot move forward. They always look to the past and blame people. Their words are not only angry but full of resentment. Life is short and swift. The sooner we forgive, the sooner we let go and move on.
  3. Allow God’s perhaps crazy, unpredictable, yet perfect plan to take place. In the life of Jacob, see how a father’s favorite becomes a slave and then becomes the governor of Egypt. He used his God-given talent in good times and difficult times. 

The Gospel reminds us that God calls not only His apostles but each and every one of us. The apostles’ lives were not easy as well but they trusted God’s plan. For this plan to come to fulfillment, not only do we need to use God’s gifts to us, not only do we need to be meek like sheep and cunning like serpents, we need to trust God’s plan in which forgiveness is always part.

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