Summary: The Power of Forgiveness
A. Have you ever done something dumb?
B. 6 or 7 years old, had a dart board in the upstairs hallway.
a. The kind you play with metal tipped darts.
b. Hallway just perfect for throwing darts.
c. Brother and I were playing.
d. Earlier that week he had accidentally stepped on my library book and ripped the cover so that I had to pay for the book when I took it back.
e. Has become my favorite book by the way; called The Bear’s Toothache.
f. Was mad about the book, throwing darts, and Larry walks up to the board to pull his darts out.
g. I look at the darts, look at him standing there in front of the dart board, and from somewhere within my brain comes the word “PAYBACK”
h. I remember the scene as if it were slow motion.
i. Lobbed the dart, arced up, came down perfectly, and lodged in the top of his head.
ii. Remember his scream, his hands coming up to pull out the dart and then the same voice that said payback said, “UH OH.”
i. I ran, but before the chase was over I had a dart sticking out of my leg.
C. We’re all faced with those decisions.
a. Someone who has hurt us.
b. Someone who has wronged us.
c. That family member, coworker, stranger
D. Joseph was faced with a decision.
a. 19 years after being thrown in a well, sold as a slave, thrown into prison, and now given charge over all of Egypt here come his brothers.
b. They don’t know who he is, but he knows who they are.
c. I could imagine the dilemma.
d. Payback or Pardon?
e. Payback would be easy, and would almost seem justified.
f. Instead, in the 4 chapters between 42 and 45 we see Joseph weep 3 times (42:24; 43:30; 45:2)
g. Not in anger, but out of love.
h. The moment Joseph saw his brothers he was faced with a choice: payback or pardon.
i. He chose pardon.
II. The Power of Forgiveness
A. Forgiveness is a Choice
a. Imagine what would have happened had Joseph chosen payback over pardon.
b. Jesus said forgiveness is the only choice.
i. 7 times 70
ii. Forgive or you won’t be forgiven
B. The Choice to Forgive Doesn’t Wait for a Response from the Forgiven
a. Joseph’s choice happened somewhere in chapter 42.
b. The brothers weren’t aware of it until chapter 45.
C. Forgiveness sets the Forgiver Free
a. There is great freedom on forgiving the one who has hurt you.
b. As long as you harbor unforgiveness you are bound to the one you can’t forgive.
c. As soon as you forgive you are free.
d. They have no control over you.
A. But what if you are the one who needs to be forgiven?
a. I think that’s why we have the story between chapters 42 and 45.
b. Joseph forgives his brothers, but before he can be reconciled to them some things need to happen
c. Reconciliation; restoration of relationships doesn’t happen overnight.
B. The brothers show up in Egypt to buy grain.
a. Joseph keeps a brother, gives them grain, and then sneaks their silver back into their saddle bags.
b. Demands they bring the youngest brother back.
c. They eventually come back.
d. A great feast
e. Slips a silver cup in their sack.
f. When Joseph sees their willingness to fight for Benjamin he sees that they have changed.
C. Want to be forgiven and reconciled?
a. Recognize and admit your guilt.
b. Change your heart and attitude.
c. Put faith in God’s ability to mend what is broken.
IV. Making Application
A. This whole story is a picture of grace.
B. At the cross we were forgiven even though we didn’t deserve it, and didn’t even know it.
a. We don’t need to get forgiveness from God; he already offered it, all we need to do is appropriate it.
b. That’s where reconciliation comes in.
c. Salvation is not just about forgiveness it’s about reconciliation.
C. That’s where our part comes in.
a. We have to recognize our guilt.
b. We have to turn to Christ who will change our heart.
c. We have to accept his free gift of forgiveness by faith.