Summary: What keeps us in the pit of anger and frustration is often our inability to forgive others and ourselves. This sermon takes a look at Joseph as a role model for forgiveness.
From Pit to Promise – Genesis 45: 1 - 15
Intro: Simon Wiesanthal – 89 family members perished in holocaust – Book, Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness – dying Nazi soldier asks for forgiveness – For 2 hrs Weisanthal sat there in silence – Finally he left room in silence – In his book "Sunflower: on the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness" he retells this story and then asks many prominent people what they would have done.
I. Forgiveness – “give up resentment against or the desire to punish – give up all claim to exact penalty” What forgiveness isn’t!
A. It is not forgetting – acknowledge the wrong done – Verse 4 – “the one you sold into slavery.” –
B. It is not excusing – rather, it is holding people responsible.
C. It is not returning to the status quo – Vs. 10 – You come here for a new beginning and a new relationship.
II. Joseph is a great example of forgiveness and how it should be handled.
A. Did not minimize the pain – but saw the glass half full instead of half empty – positive perspective – Vs. 8 – Not you but God who sent me here.
B. My Dad and his sister didn’t speak to each other and neither could remember why – just holding on to the hurt
C. T.H.I.N.K. – T = is it true? H = is it helpful? I = is it inspiring? N = is it necessary? K = is it kind?
III. Ever been really angry over something someone has done to you and they don’t even remember it? - Staying in pit of anger doesn’t hurt them.
A. Compared to the suffering of Christ, you have not been seriously wronged.
B. What are the positive outcomes of the situation – what positive thing have you learned about God or yourself?
C. Pray for the one who has injured you. – Then you will begin to live a life of promise.
Conclu: My Dad couldn’t forgive himself for the atrocities he committed during WW II So, he drank heavily, devloped ulcers, became suicidal and died at 55. Who was hurt by his unwillingness to forgive?