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Forgiveness from the Heart (Closed Captioned)

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Zion Evangelical Lutheran Torrance, California Zion Evangelical Lutheran Torrance, California Let us rise for the reading of this morning's sermon text recorded for us in the Book of Genesis, where we read from Chapter 50 beginning with verse 15: WHEN JOSEPH'S BROTHERS SAW THAT THEIR FATHER WAS DEAD, THEY SAID, "WHAT IF JOSEPH HOLDS A GRUDGE AGAINST US AND PAYS US BACK FOR ALL THE WRONGS WE DID TO HIM?" SO THEY SENT WORD TO JOSEPH, SAYING, "YOUR FATHER LEFT THESE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE HE DIED: 'THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY TO JOSEPH: I ASK YOU TO FORGIVE YOUR BROTHERS THE SINS AND THE WRONGS THEY COMMITTED IN TREATING YOU SO BADLY.' NOW PLEASE FORGIVE THE SINS OF THE SERVANTS OF THE GOD OF YOUR FATHER." WHEN THEIR MESSAGE CAME TO HIM, JOSEPH WEPT. HIS BROTHERS THEN CAME AND THREW THEMSELVES DOWN BEFORE HIM. "WE ARE YOUR SLAVES," THEY SAID. BUT JOSEPH SAID TO THEM, "DON'T BE AFRAID. AM I IN THE PLACE OF GOD? YOU INTENDED TO HARM ME, BUT GOD INTENDED IT FOR GOOD TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT IS NOW BEING DONE, THE SAVING OF MANY LIVES. SO THEN, DON'T BE AFRAID. I WILL PROVIDE FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN." AND HE REASSURED THEM AND SPOKE KINDLY TO THEM. This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: Glorious and gracious God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of each of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our only source of hope and comfort. Amen. Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Isn't it fun being part of a family? Growing up with brothers and sisters. Living together day in and day out? Sharing rooms, sharing toys? Fighting. Arguing. Stop touching me! You looked at me! Leave me alone! Being part of a family is such an interesting dynamic that we all go through and we all work through and we live through it. And then we come to the really interesting ones recorded for us in the pages of Scripture. Joseph ... and his brothers. Joseph, obviously, the favored one. The one that Dad liked best. The one that got treated better than all of the other brothers. And it got to the point where they hated him SO much they wanted him dead. They were gonna kill him. They put him into a well with the thought that they would come back and slaughter their own brother. At least Reuben had some pangs of regret. So what did he do with him? Sells him into slavery! Sends him far away from the family. And goes along with this idea that they're going to come to their father and pull this charade that his favorite son was dead ... was killed. That they lied to him. Think of the anguish and the pain that was in that family's household. And then to their surprise, years later, when they have to go down to Egypt and beg for food, who of all people is standing before them but the brother that they hated, despised, and wanted out of their lives. And now their lives are in his hands. And he recognizes them. But he doesn't take vengeance out upon them. He brings his family back down to Egypt. To take care of them. To take care of his father. To treat them well. And then we have the parts of the account in our text for this morning. When Jacob dies. And what's the concern of Joseph's brothers? Now ... he's going ... to get us. Now that Dad's gone, now he can take full advantage to get back at us ... for what happened so many years ago. Guilt is such a powerful enduring emotion. So they concoct another plan. They send their brother a note that this is what God ... this is what your father said to you. That when he dies he wants you to forgive your brothers. And they send that note off to Joseph. Joseph read it ... and he wept. Why did he cry? I like to think he cried because he realized his brothers didn't "get it". He realized that his brothers didn't understand that he was not harboring anger and resentment and rage and just waiting for that moment of retribution to come when he could just get back at them. He loved them. He hadn't treated them the way that they treated him. And I think he got that note from them and realized they didn't understand him. They didn't realize that he had forgiven them. Because sometimes forgiveness is such a difficult thing. It's difficult to say to people. It's difficult to live out your lives in forgiveness to others and we're reminded of that this morning that that is what our goal is as the children of God. We live in forgiveness. And we're to forgive others from the heart. And we're to forgive others with the actions that we do. And we model our Savior as we look at what Jesus did for us. What God accomplished for us came directly from His heart. He created humanity. He placed them in this wonderful world. He was with them. He was guiding them and Adam and Eve willingly destroyed that perfection. His heart had to ache. It had to break and be devastated. And it was in that brokenhearted state that God in His love said: I WILL save them! I will take that debt and I will send My Son as payment for it. So that debt will be cancelled that they themselves COULDN'T cancel. They couldn't make up for what they had done. They couldn't do enough. They couldn't be good enough anymore. It was only from God Himself and His love that forgiveness came. And as the children of God, we understand that. How often aren't we like David in the Psalm that we read as our Old Testament Lesson where we fall before God, crying that He would have mercy on us? Out of His unbounding love ... that He would forgive our sins, that He would cancel our debt, that He would have mercy and compassion on us. That we plead that we are sinful human beings, born in sin, conceived in sin, living in sin every day. And we need His forgiveness. That's why we approach Him. That's why we come to Him asking for that, knowing that He willingly blocked out all our transgressions. He cancelled our debt. He is the One who has forgiven our sins through His Son, Jesus Christ. And what a reason for rejoicing! We understand that love and forgiveness of God. The problem is sometimes we turn away from that and we look at the other people in our life and we're like that individual in the parable that Jesus told His disciples. Our tremendous debt has been cancelled. Our sins have been forgiven. God has loved us ... immeasurably! And we go running out and the first person that we see that has sinned against us we come upon them with bitterness, anger, rage, malice, and we don't want to forgive them. That's the disconnect that we have as the children of God. That's the hold that sin has on us. That we understand the forgiveness that we go to God for and yet we turn to our fellow believers ... we turn to people of this world, and we don't share that same forgiveness with them. Because somehow that love of God that we SO adore and SO want ... we don't wanna share that with other people who need it as well. But that's what God has called us to do. That we realize the tremendous debt that WE have been forgiven; that we turn to the people in our lives who have no debt to us in comparison to the one that we have to God. And we love them and we forgive them. And we do that from the heart. It comes from deep within us because we WANT to forgive them. We WANT to bring them the comfort of God. We want them to understand that through the working of Jesus Christ ... they are forgiven. And it's not just lip service that we're to give them. But with actions as well. Joseph realized that his brothers needed to be reassured that he had forgiven them. So he spoke with them. He acknowledged what the problem was. He acknowledged that they wanted to hurt him. But what they intended to be bad and evil, God turned it around for good as God always does for His children. And sometimes even that blessing pours out on other people. All of the Egyptians living at that time were blessed because of the good that God accomplished for His church and for Joseph. And Joseph shared that with his brothers. It tells us he spoke kindly to them. And He was with them. And we're reminded that that's what WE are to do as well. When we live in that forgiveness sometimes it means we have to take the steps to clear the way. We have to be the ones to acknowledge what went on. It's not maybe just a matter of brushing it under the rug so that it's gonna fester and pop up years later like Joseph's brothers. But to deal with it as brothers and sisters in the faith. To talk honestly from our hearts. And to back up what we say with actions. To live that forgiveness. We're reminded from our Epistle Lesson not to grieve the Holy Spirit. To get rid of all of that malice and slander and envy and all those other things and put in there the love of God, and His forgiveness ...all of those things that we know we have from God. All of those things that we desire from Him every day ... let's put those into actions to the people around us in our lives. Let's look on them with love and compassion. And truly forgive them and let them know that. Speak kindly of them. Treat them well. Be ... Christ-like. We bear His name. Let us show His actions. And forgive others. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 55 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 81
Posted by: hischild on Sep 9, 2010

From Genesis 50:15-21, we learn the example God gives us when He tells us how Joseph handled forgiveness as a child of God.

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