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Devotionals

The Poison of Unforgiveness -

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The Poison of Unforgiveness Get the Antidote Today!

Matthew 18: 34-35 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

An old adage reads, "Unforgiveness is the poison we drink while we wait for the other person to die." How sad but true. It is human nature to hold a grudge. The world embraces an eye for an eye but how many of us realize that if we strictly adhered to that philosophy; we would all be blind. While we sit and hold that grudge, the poison works its way through our system. It turns into bitterness and a hardening of the heart. With each passing year the bitterness deepens. The world may glorify revenge and movies may paint unforgiveness in a positive light but the Word of God reveals the truth behind those lies.

First of all, it is always your responsibility. Too often we can think that it's the other person who has the problem. Here is how God views that:

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

How important is unforgiveness to God? He doesn't even want your sacrifice if you have unresolved differences! And look how the verse is worded! If you know your brother has something against you! It is always your responsibility. Why did God use this as the example? Because too often we can go to church and raise our hands and sing our praise to God while secretly harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts. Reconciliation and relationship are more important to God than sacrifice and religion. One has to do with the heart of God and the other with the heart of man.

 

Secondly, it is not about you! Sorry to burst your bubble, but everything is about God; even forgiveness. We can get so hurt in our flesh sometimes that we fail to remember who we live for. Joseph is someone who most would say had a "right" to be upset. Can anyone really blame him if he held a grudge against his brothers who tried to kill him and ended up selling him into slavery? Can we not understand if he ended up harboring bitterness against Potiphar and his wife after being falsely accused and thrown into prison for over a decade? Wouldn't we be compassionate toward him if he still was resentful towards the Cupbearer who forgot him to Pharaoh and cost him another two years in prison!

 

Yet the Bible gives no indication of any anger whatsoever towards the many people who wronged him. Once he was released he became the Prime Minister of all Egypt, with only Pharaoh holding more power than him. He could have easily sought revenge against Potiphar and his wife or the Cupbearer. But Scripture gives no indication that he ever did. The more compelling act of forgiveness however dealt with his brothers. Even after the passing of their father, Jacob, we see the brothers still wrecked with guilt over all they had done wrong to Joseph:

 

When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?" So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died: 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept. Genesis 50: 16-17

 

The brothers hold the perspective of the world. They could not fathom that Joseph would have already forgiven them; even though he had already told them so. Like the world, they resort to trying to trick Joseph by lying to him about their now deceased father. The perspective of the world is wrecked with guilt. Without the true reconciliation, they carried this guilt around with them their whole lives. The same goes for unforgiveness. It is a cancer slowly eating away at you.

 

Joseph however, held the perspective of God. He knew that even though his brothers may have plotted, it was God that planned.

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