“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NAS)
If I have to admit to hating something, I would say I hate suffering. I recently visited a relative who seemed apathetic to my husband’s cancer and all that we are going through. They proceeded to say that they don’t believe in the same God we do. Their reasons for this were actually unbiblical and contrary to my own opinions. However, instead of trying to defend my faith or refute their arguments, I listened. I prayed, “God, help them see that the Bible presents your absolute truth and not our culture’s relativistic truth.”
The challenge of reaching others for Christ can be painful at times. This situation felt like suffering.
In the verse above, after Joseph had suffered 23 years unjustly, he talks of his faith in God to the very brothers who had betrayed him. Only God could give Joseph that type of total forgiveness to relatives who had intended him harm and enable him to offer them grace.
People are drawn to others who keep short accounts, extend forgiveness, and give grace when mistakes happen — whether intended or not. When we are yielded to him, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do what our own abilities can’t do or even want to do. Imagine having relationships and outreaches to others filled with grace!
Lord God, only you can give the supernatural forgiveness and grace to extend to others who increase suffering. May we look to you to accomplish the saving of spiritual lives as a result.
Seek to offer God’s amazing love and grace to everyone you meet, no matter what they do or say.
By Jan Stewart
Used by Permission