Summary: Forgiveness is essential in the Christian walk; but how many can forgive while vengence is at their fingertips?
FAVORED TO FORGIVE
GEN. 45:1-5 PT3(Getting over myself)
Sermon by Rev. U.R. Mckneely II 6/6/2010
“Simon Wiesenthal lost 89 relatives in Hitler’s death camps. He has devoted his life to finding Nazi criminals and bringing them to justice. He is often asked when he will give up. After all, he is hunting down men in their 70’s and 80’s for crimes committed half a century ago.
Wiesenthal answered by writing a book. The book begins with a true experience he had while he himself was a concentration camp prisoner. One day he was yanked out of a work detail and taken up a back stairway to a dark hospital room. A nurse led him into the room, then left him alone with a figure wrapped in white, lying on a bed. The figure was a badly wounded German soldier, whose entire face was covered with bandages. His name was Karl.
With a trembling voice, the German made a kind of confession to Wiesenthal. He told how he had been brought up in a Nazi family, the fighting he had experienced on the Russian front, and the brutal measures his S.S. unit had taken against Jews. And then he told of a terrible atrocity.
All the Jews in a town were herded into a wooden building
that was then set on fire. Karl had taken an active part in the crime. Several times Wiesenthal tried to leave the room, but each time the ghost-like figure would reach out and beg him to stay. Finally, after 2 hours, Karl told Wiesenthal why he had been summoned.
The soldier had asked a nurse if any Jews still existed. If so, he wanted one brought to his room so he could clear his conscience. He then said to Wiesenthal -"I am left here with my guilt. "I do not know who you are, I know only that you are a Jew and that is enough. "I know that what I am asking is almost too much for you. "But without your answer I cannot die in peace." Karl asked for forgiveness for all the Jews he had killed. He asked for forgiveness, from a man who might soon die. Wiesenthal sat in silence for some time. He stared at the man’s bandaged face. At last, without saying a word, he stood up and left the room. He left the soldier in torment, unforgiven. #986
Had Simon Wiesenthal done the best he could? He himself seemed dissatisfied with his action. He went over it with his companions. He visited the dead soldier’s mother.
In his book, he asks 32 rabbis, Christian theologians,
and secular philosophers to comment on it. "What would YOU have done?" is the question he posed.
Out of 32 people he asked the majority said he had done right in leaving the soldier unforgiven. Only 6 said he had done wrong. Yet Bible says we have the privilege of granting forgiveness to those who have wronged us.”
Whether we recognize it or not, when we are offended by others we rarely seek for an occasion to show forgiveness before we receive an apology. The fact of the matter is that most forgiveness that is shown between people is conditional. I can’t forgive until I have been shown a satisfactory measure sorrowfulness and repentance. I can’t forgive you until I see that you are worthy of my forgiveness. As the offended party we seek occasion to justify our withholding of forgiveness. When others have done us wrong the one part of us that is most often hurt is our ego, and it is because of a wounded ego we refuse to forgive. We wallow in self pity and find pleasure in sympathy from others because we have been injured. Joseph could have easily proclaimed his brothers offenses toward him before the whole house of pharaoh. He could have went through the whole story of how he had to endure because of their jealousy and how he was able to rise above the hatred of his brothers to become somebody in this world. The house of pharaoh probably would have stood to there feet and applauded Joseph for his endurance and his never quit attitude. They probably would have wrote his story down to be told by generations to commemorate the human will to succeed, Joseph could have made his brothers gravel and beg for his forgiveness while the house of pharaoh stood and watched, but Joseph did not look for an occasion to make them recognize their wrong, but he was concerned with bringing his family back together again. Pride is motivated by self exaltation over an individual and while forgiveness is motivated by reconciliation with the family. Joseph says leave me alone with my brothers. He wasn’t looking for the approval of an audience but he wanted to show sincerity to his brothers. He told everyone to leave because his forgiveness was not a issue on display for public ridicule but it was a matter reserved personal disclosure. His objective was to reveal to his brothers his identity and in revealing his identity it was the beginning of Grace to undeserving brothers.