Nurturing • The Power of Forgiveness
Ryan Story | Student Pastor
I worked in Head Start for a few years when I was going for my Associates Degree. Head Start is a program for low economic pre-school aged students that helps them get a “head start” when they start Kindergarten. Attending a few meetings, I heard several times that “education is the only thing that can break the cycle of poverty.” Head Start’s mission, so to speak, was to help kids out of poverty in their lives; they had to get through grade school and college to get a good job to not repeat the trend. I loved working with this program and loved working in the classrooms I had. Agree or disagree with their view, the idea that adding one element can stop a cycle of destruction is an amazing thought. If you look in your life, go back to a point when you added Jesus’ forgiveness into the cycle of life you were living. Did it change everything? Of course, adding Jesus to anyone’s life can change the way a person lives, but there is much power in us forgiving others.
Take some time this week to read about Joseph in Genesis chapters 38-50. With all of the stuff that Joseph had to endure because of his brothers, and slightly his pride, Joseph had an opportunity to destroy his brothers, but he chose to forgive them and embrace them. Even after Jacob had died the book of Genesis (chapter 50) says:
“Say to Joseph, ‘Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you. And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (verses 17-21).
Joseph’s brothers knew they had done wrong, and were fearful of what would happen after Jacob’s death. God was able to move Joseph to a place where he realized that everything that happens is because of God, the good and the bad. Forgiveness in the family is hard because the hurt is closer. If you are struggling with forgiveness, think about the cycle you can break by forgiving the person who has hurt you. It becomes so easy for us to not move forward because “you do not know what that person did to me” or “you do not know how much that hurt.” But the cycles of bitterness, revenge, insecurities, hostility, and resentment must end so we can move closer to what God has for us. I understand that these words are easier to type than to live out, but from someone who has battled with forgiving those in my life who have hurt me, it is amazing what God has for us on the other side.