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When I asked Christine how she felt about her parents, her attractive face seemed to lose all expression. She reflected for a moment, then matter-of-factly stated, "I get along fine with my parents. I just haven't seen them in a while. I studied her, noticing that her large, blue eyes weren't looking into mine.
They were fixed, instead, upon her slender fingers.
3 bible stories about forgiveness
Christine had already told me that her father and mother had been rather cruel to her during her childhood. They had locked her in a closet when she didn't please them and had slapped her across the face repeatedly if she questioned their authority. Unfortunately, they were very active in their church and felt that they were disciplining her in a godly way. Christine had moved out of the house at sixteen and had quickly created a life of her own. For many years, she'd wanted nothing to do with her father, mother, or their religion.
More recently, however, her personal failures had reminded her that she needed a Savior. Grateful to learn that He wasn't the terrible God of her childhood, she had trusted Christ. In response to her "Why? I was just wondering if you're still angry with your parents.
They never meant to hurt me. Child abuse is sin, and they sinned against you. So that's my way of forgiving them—I'm willing to say they did the best they could. And I just avoid seeing them as much as possible. Forgiveness is acknowledging everything they did to you.
Three bible stories that teach kids about forgiveness
You need to face the fact that they treated you very, very badly. Then, with God's help, you can forgive them for the worst things they ever did. Watering it all down and then walking away from it is not forgiveness.
Christine and I discussed at length the cold, hard facts about her childhood. She prayed that God would forgive her parents for several specific incidents when they deeply wounded her physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Lessons from home
In the months to come, Christine found that her unwelcome rage and short temper were diminishing. Through improved communication and honesty, she was eventually able to establish a comfortable adult relationship with both her father and her mother.
Forgiving others seems to be one of the hardest things some of us ever have to do. At times it is difficult to face the wrongs that have been done to us. Like Christine, we deny, even to ourselves, the severity of our wounds. In other cases, we are well aware of the hurts we've experienced, and we believe the offender should suffer some consequences for what he or she did. If we forgive, it seems we're letting the culprit off too easily.
Lesson 7: a disease called unforgiveness
We don't want to encourage repeated offenses. Then there's the element of trust. Our trust is eroded with each hurtful incident.
Isn't it wise simply to write the person off or to avoid him or her as much as possible? That way we can protect ourselves from the possibility of further pain. Like Christine, you may carry the memory of offenses that date all the way back to your childhood years.
Your parents may have rejected you or abused you. Perhaps your mother preferred your sister because she was attractive and you were not. Or maybe your father made it his habit to hit you first and ask questions later. You might be in a marriage that requires you to forgive almost daily, even though all feelings of love and warmth have disappeared.
And let's not forget the injustices you may have experienced in the workplace—passed over for a position just because you are a woman or because you wouldn't go to bed with the boss. Life offers us plenty of opportunities to feel unforgiving.
Why jesus compared unforgiveness to the sycamine tree
The trouble is, lack of forgiveness does more damage to us than to the offender. When we don't forgive, we grow hardened, untrusting, sour, and bitter.
We become vengeful. We want the person who wronged us to suffer. Those negative feelings war against the love and compassion that should characterize us as Christians, and we hinder our own spiritual growth. God knows how difficult forgiving is for us to do. And His Word records—in great detail—the life of a man who had more to forgive than almost anyone.
We learn valuable lessons about forgiveness from Joseph, whose story is told in the book of Genesis. Joseph was not to blame for his misfortunes. Jacob, his father, provoked Joseph's abuse through his open favoritism. Joseph was Jacob's favorite child because he was the son of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved the most dearly. And Joseph's ten half-brothers were well aware of it.
3 bible stories to teach your kids about forgiveness
You'd think Jacob would have remembered all the problems that transpired in his own family due to favoritism. But he was like many parents today: Tragically, we are prone to repeat the sins of our parents rather than to learn from them. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him" Gen. Joseph's brothers already hated him. It just made matters worse when he dreamed two strange dreams, both predicting his rise to prominence and authority, indicating that he would rule over his family.
That was more than his brothers could take. We read, "They hated him all the more because of his dream" Gen. More than once, the ten half-brothers must have discussed how great it would be to get rid of Joseph. Finally, one day he walked into their clutches, and they had their opportunity.
They threw him into a pit and tried to figure out how to snuff out his life. Just then a caravan of merchants passed by. Instead of murdering him, they decided to sell Joseph to the slave traders, who took him to Egypt. We can only imagine Joseph's thoughts as he trudged through the desert on his way to Egypt. As he slept every night in the slave quarters. As he was ordered to do menial tasks day after day—tasks his father's servants did at home.
Poor Joseph must have been devastated by the rejection and hatred of his brothers. He surely longed for his father's embrace. He could never have dreamed that his brothers' animosity would lead to this. What kind of person would Joseph have become if he had nurtured an unforgiving spirit? We have to imagine such a thing, because Scripture gives us every evidence that he didn't let injustice erode his character or his trust in God.
It didn't matter where he was, whether in the house of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, or chained in a prison cell on a false charge of rape, or sitting on a throne in Egypt—we read of God's favor upon Joseph: "The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered.
14 thoughts on “parables and stories of forgiveness in the bible”
The LORD gave him success in everything he did. Joseph was a slave. He was owned as property in an idolatrous, pagan country. Yet he never lost his awareness of the presence of the living God and his ability to Him. Again and again, he spoke fearlessly of his God to Egyptians of every rank, always sprinkling his answers to their various questions and charges with references to his heavenly Father:. Joseph did not wallow in self-pity or allow himself to be eaten alive by bitterness.
He never planned ways to avenge himself against his wicked brothers.
Seven bible stories about forgiveness
If he had done so, he could never have retained such a close relationship with God. Instead, Joseph accepted what had happened to him, and in doing so, he was able to mature in his faith. At last the day came when he had his chance—he could choose to exact revenge or he could decide to demonstrate forgiveness. God had revealed, through Pharaoh's dreams, that seven years of abundant harvests in Egypt would be followed by seven years of drought and famine. When Joseph interpreted the dreams, Pharaoh placed him, a thirty-year-old, in charge of all the food in Egypt. Joseph built storehouses for grain throughout the land during the years of plenty.
Then, when the years of famine ravaged Egypt and the surrounding countries, he was also in charge of selling grain.