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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Friendly Fire – Forgiving your Fellow Comrade

He was only seventeen; sent out alone to check on his older brothers.  He traveled more than a few hours. I am sure weary of the travel, he was more weary of the jesting, he would receive once he found them.

After finding them, the situation became worse than he ever thought possible. In an instant, surrounded by darkness – abandoned he tried to hold his tears as he rubbed his body — knowing the bruises would be evident once in daylight. Yet, there were more wounds that the physical eye could not see –even in daylight.

Hoping to see the end of this emotional and physical agony, this was only the beginning. Unbeknown to him, this dark hole would be the training ground for his future. A prison would await him in a country completely foreign to him.

These were the thoughts that came to me as I reflected on Joseph’s life. Trials started early for Joseph. Yet, It was through these difficult times that Joseph learned to lean on God.

Joseph’s life was one of constant training. He became a trailblazer through his suffering, and his decision to forgive.

Life is messy. People get hurt, and we hurt people.

What do we do when those who have hurt us are the ones we call “brothers” or “sisters” in Christ?

Joseph was demeaned and wounded by his own brothers. There is no doubt about it. Imagine if Joseph had not forgiven his brothers. What if he had not been patient during the hardships he faced? He may have been an example of “what not to do” rather than “what to do”

Joseph was a victim. Yet, he forgave the ones who hurt him. He even welcomed them into his new homeland. Because of it, God used him to lead, and save tons of thousands of people.

It seems harder to forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ. They should know better, right?  But, if we are honest with ourselves and God, we are all guilty. If we haven’t hurt our brother to sister in Christ, we definitely have hurt God. He allowed His son to come down into our dark world. Abandoned by those who were closest to him, and mocked, he suffered beatings, disrespect, and rejection to show us what it takes to achieve reconciliation and forgiveness.

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; If a foe were rising against me, I could hide.

But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers. Psalm 55:12-14 NIV

Have you been there? One week you’re worshipping together.The next, it is as if you never knew each other. This happens too often, and it grieves the heart of God.

Forgiveness is a process and without forgiveness, we cannot move forward.

Having a fallout with our brothers and sisters hurts more than anything I have ever experienced. Sometimes there is reconciliation and other times not. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Remember this side of eternity, we may never see reconciliation, though we still pray and seek for it. Forgiveness is the same way. We may never hear, “Will you forgive me” from the ones who hurt us, but we have to be ready, willing and eager to forgive. Our emotions will not always line up. But, if it takes saying, "I forgive them" 100 times a day until it starts to sink in, then say it 100 times a day.

God commands us to live worthy of the gospel. Forgiveness is a part of God’s story and our story and we need to ask God to help us forgive as He forgave. It is not easy, but it is always worth it.

God has bigger things for us ahead. We cannot afford to live caged by our unforgiveness. It takes time. It takes intentionality, and most of all it takes the power of the Holy Spirit.

If you have experienced rejection, abandonment, and mocking; remember, God’s been there. He sees the scars left on your heart, and he is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). God loves you enough to reason with you to forgive your brothers and sisters.

Proverbs 17:22 NASB says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

God wants to heal your wounds and use you as wounded healer for those who have experienced the same. Forgiveness for them means freedom for you.

Don’t waste another year, another month, another day, or another minute. Forgive. It will be worth it.

Copyright © 2017 © Christi Perry. Used by permission.

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