The greatest gift I have ever been given is forgiveness. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize God’s free gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ as being the most extravagant gift of forgiveness, but I’m also referring to forgiveness given to me by the people I love the most (as well as others). This is a lesson I SO want to pass on my kiddos, because guess what A, E, and C… Mommy’s NOT perfect! I mess up, and I’ll probably incur some sort of collateral damage in your life along the way! However, it is from that “damage” or struggle that I, your daddy, and probably other people you know and love, may inadvertently cause that God’s grace and forgiveness can be all the more apparent in your life and in mine.
If I may, I would LOVE to take you back to the story in Genesis about Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him, and threw him into a cistern (or a pit), sold him to travelers on their way to Egypt, and lied to their father, telling him that his son was torn to shreds by an angry animal. In Egypt, Joseph was favored by government leaders, and rose to power in many ways. Potipher’s wife tried to sidetrack him, but he eventually was thrown into jail. From jail, Joseph did God’s bidding by interpreting dreams and was then placed 2nd in command over all Egypt. From the pit to the palace, Joseph was living the dream! However, his brothers were suffering from a famine and came to scrounge food from Egypt, and didn’t recognize their brother they so thoughtlessly abandoned. When Joseph revealed his identity, his brothers were terrified thinking that Joseph would certainly kill or imprison them. BUT, Joseph already forgave them, saying in Genesis 45:5, “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Joseph knew that God’s destiny for his life was greater than any hardship or foul play he had ever endured.
Know this, my sweet kiddos, people will let you down. People will do and say things to you that are so hurtful and may seem unforgivable. Ask the Lord to give you His heart and forgive them anyway. I love this poem written by Mother Teresa…
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.