forgiveness and pain

Don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourself for selling me. God was behind it. Genesis 45:4

Forgiveness brings with it a warm feel-good glow  when you take the high road in life. Like when you smile and wave at the guy who cuts you.

Of course, the glow takes longer to feel in a situation that requires more effort to forgive.  But with time, you almost always experience the joy of forgiveness.  That is unless you were betrayed by someone you loved, by someone who ripped your heart out and then stomped all over your life.  Forgiveness in this scenario doesn’t bring with it any panacea to your pain. Years later, the pain of betrayal will still be able to squeeze every tear and every breath out of you.

Joseph was but a young man when his brother betrayed him. Years went by; life was good. Luck and God both seemed to be on his side. His professional and personal life couldn’t have been better. Overall, only good had come out of the entire experience. He could even see the purpose behind the injustice he had endured. So, both in his heart and in his head, subjectively and objectively, he believed and knew that it was all meant to be.

And yet the pain of being betrayed was so strong. The first time he sees his brothers, “he turned away and cried” (42:23). And it wasn’t some kind of a closure; the next time he meets them, it was worse–”his sobbing was so violent” (45:2). Joseph’s pain was still as raw as it had been the day he was sold to strangers by his brothers.

So, the realistic fact about forgiveness is that it doesn’t necessarily make you feel better about what happened. But it does make you feel blessed and loved by the One who counts.

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