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Summary: Forgiveness is powerful. Unforgiveness can also be powerful: when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us, we ironically and powerfully hurt ourselves.

Jesus often told people,

"Your sins are forgiven."

What a stunning statement.

Forgiveness is powerful.

Unforgiveness can also be powerful: when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us, we ironically and powerfully hurt ourselves.

Lewis Smedes once said, "Forgiving is the only way to be fair to yourself.

Would it be fair to you that the person who hurt you once, goes on hurting you the rest of your life?

Well,,,, When you refuse to forgive, you are giving the person who walloped you once the privilege of hurting you over,,, and over, again—in your memory."

Beyond the healing that forgiving someone who wronged us brings to our hearts, it is also commanded in Scripture.

Matthew 6:14-15 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, you Father will not forgive your sins.

Joseph was the pride and joy of his father. Though Jacob had ten other sons, he favored Joseph, the one born to him in his old age. Jacob never bothered to hide his special feelings—not even from his other sons. In fact, he expressed his favoritism blatantly and visibly by having an expensive coat made especially for Joseph.

This did not go unnoticed by the older brothers, and they began to resent their spoiled young sibling. Joseph, who was either oblivious to their resentment or insensitive to it, made it worse by bragging to his brothers about his dreams that he would one day rule over them. In one dream, his brothers' sheaves of grain bowed down to him.

In another dream, the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him.

Eventually, Joseph's vivid dreams and their father's favoritism so infuriated the brothers that they plotted Joseph's death.

While trying to decide the best way to accomplish it, they spotted a caravan of spice traders on the way to Egypt.

Instead of killing Joseph, they decided to sell him as a slave.

They said good riddance to their dreaming brother and made up a story to tell their father about his favorite son's tragic fate.

So much for dreams of greatness.

At age seventeen, Joseph became a slave in Egypt, then a prisoner in a rank dungeon for a crime he did not commit.

The situation provided Joseph with plenty of time to think about his life and what he had done.

Somewhere along the way,

I beg the question how do we begin the Forgive Process?

• First we must,,,, Realize and admit our part in the conflict.

• Ask , the ultimate forgiver, to empower you, remembering that he has forgiven you.

• Decide that you don't want to keep on letting that person hurt you by holding the grudge.

So,,,, so,,,, Joseph made a choice. He decided to forgive his brothers.

And ,,,, Eventually God fulfilled the promise he had conveyed through dreams to the brash young man, but not before refining Joseph's character through forgiveness.

The Importance of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something all of us want to receive but most of us hesitate to give. Jesus makes it clear, however, that we can't have it without giving it.

(Matthew 6:14-15) If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins .

See,,,, these words allow no room for doubt,,,, or discussion.

Forgiveness flows two ways.

We cannot separate receiving forgiveness from extending forgiveness.

Forgiveness is at the core of emotional well-being.

Why do you think it is difficult to forgive those who hurt you?

It is fair to say that unforgiving people are emotionally sick.

Their bitterness is a disease of the spirit, and it is inevitable that the unforgiving person eventually will experience physical illness as well.

Anger causes surges of adrenaline and secretes other powerful chemicals that attack the body.

The stress we carry when we refuse to give or receive forgiveness affects our hearts, minds, and bodies.

And to make matters worse, both rage and depression contribute to obsessive behaviors such as overeating, workaholism, overspending, and even addictions to pornography and mood-altering drugs.

We cannot rid ourselves of emotional pain and its side effects unless we are willing to forgive.

Unresolved anger keeps us from moving forward because it locks us in a time machine, frozen on the exact moment when a particular offense occurred.

Fear of further injury makes us unwilling to move to new levels of relationship, not only with those who have hurt us but with anyone who represents a similar threat.

Furthermore, if we allow unforgiveness to continue, we are likely to experience depression, bitterness, or both.

Yet more important than any of these concerns is the most serious consideration of all—the spiritual consequence of unforgiveness:,,,,,,, alienation from God.

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