Summary: Joseph forgave his jealous brothers when he had a chance to hurt the ones who hurt him. However, forgiveness is me not hurting you, for hurting me. Can you find the unforgiveness of your heart and lay it down? It is a cancer that will kill your soul.
Sermon Title: THE CANCER OF UNFORGIVENESS
Text: Genesis 50
Series: Greatest Chapters of the Bible
Dr. Larry Petton
Cross Pointe Community Church
January 26, 2014
Message #3 in series
The story is told by Ernest Hemingway of a father and his teenage son who had a relationship that had become strained to the point of breaking. Finally the son ran away from home. His father, however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in the newspaper.
The ad read: “DEAR PACO, MEET ME IN FRONT OF THE NEWSPAPER OFFICE AT NOON. ALL IS FORGIVEN. I LOVE YOU. YOUR FATHER.”
The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office, 800 “Pacos” showed up.
There are so many “PACOS” in our world who are dying to be forgiven…….and so many others who are dying because of the cancer of unforgiveness.
Cancer is killing us. About 1,660,290 new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2013, and 580,350 Americans died of cancer, almost 1,600 people a day. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. Many doctors in the U.S. believe there is a direct correlation between cancer and forgiveness. In fact, a recent nationwide survey revealed that 97% of doctors believe that emotions can affect the body's ability to fight disease.
Karl Menninger, the famed psychiatrist, once said that if he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day!
Unforgiveness is a cancer to our souls that carries many curses. However, somehow Joseph was able to overcome that cancer and forgive his brothers when he had the chance to take their lives (Genesis 49-50). His act of forgiveness is a foreshadowing of how Christ forgave his enemies from the Cross and cried out to the Father in Heaven: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Joseph is a beautiful type of Christ in the Old Testament. The parallels between Joseph and Jesus are amazing.
• Both were loved by their fathers.
• Both were rejected by their brothers.
• Both were tempted greatly.
• Both suffered innocently.
• Both were unjustly tried.
• Both took a Gentile bride.
• Both forgave those who hurt them.
• Both were exalted to a glorious position.
The story of Joseph’s life can be outlined by several key events in Genesis:
1.REJECTION (37:1-36) – Jacob selected Joseph as the favored son and he was despised by his brothers. They threw him into a pit and left him for dead.
2. REFINEMENT (38:1 – 40:23) – Traders came by and captured Joseph and took him to Egypt where they sold him as a slave.
3. RESURRECTION (41:1-45) – Joseph began to rise to the top in Egypt until he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. He was blamed and sent to serve as a slave in prison once again.
4. REIGNING (41:46-57) – The Lord showed his favor to Joseph in prison where he interpreted dreams and showed remarkable character. He eventually became a powerful ruler in Egypt.
5. RECONCILIATION (42:1 – 47:31) – Joseph met his brothers again and forgave them of their awful trespass against him.
6. REWARD (48:1-49:33) – Joseph was blessed by God and recognized by others.
7. RETURN (50:1-26) – Joseph returned home to bury his father and to be reunited with his family again.
One of the most memorable moments of Joseph’s life is found in Genesis chapters 49-50. His brothers were brought before him on charges of violating Egyptian law. Joseph had the power to take their lives or to punish them. They had no clue who he was…….they thought he was dead.
When the brothers faced this unknown Egyptian ruler, he surpised them when he stepped off his place of authority and revealed himself to them. They were totally shocked and afraid. Joseph forgave them for hurting him and then gave that classic statement of Genesis 50:20 – “You meant this for evil. But God meant it for good!” This is the “Romans 8:28” of the Old Testament which reminds us that trials work FOR US, not AGAINST US.
I love how The Message translates II Corinthians 4:16-18 concerning our trials:
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”