“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45.5
The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis is amazing. This young man was mistreated by his brothers, falsely imprisoned and left languishing in jail, and yet behind it all was the hand of God raising Joseph up for the unique role that he had planned for him. When he eventually met his brothers again, his heart was full of forgiveness because he recognised the hand of God behind it all. In effect what he said to his brothers was this – “Forgive yourselves and each other”.
Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. We listen to words of God’s forgiveness being proclaimed in church, but deep down that sense of personal failure can be very strong. In the end it comes down to the way we see ourselves. We may well recognise failure in our lives – but what does God see? The Bible says that he remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 10.17).
So when you next look at yourself in the mirror, have the courage to ask – what does God see? He sees someone forgiven and clean, because whatever it is you have done is something that has been paid for and dealt with by Jesus. The more you can bask in this truth, the more you will be able to forgive yourself.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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