Weekly Wisdoms for the week of June 22, 2015
The word "forgive", as defined in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, means "to absolve from payment"; that is, to cancel a debt.
Unfortunately, many people try to force others who have hurt them to "pay" for their actions. Rather than forgiving -- "absolving from payment" -- such people try to force others to pay them back.
Other people may have committed evil against you; however, the Bible says that we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
An excellent example of this principle of overcoming evil with good can be seen in the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). He had many opportunities to be bitter toward others, yet he refused to do so. Indeed, he kept a good attitude even during greatly unfair circumstances.
When Joseph was seventeen years old, his brothers sold him into slavery (see Genesis 37). The slave traders took him to Egypt, where, Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt, had a dream, which Joseph interpreted to mean that Egypt would have seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed by Joseph that he placed the young man in charge of the entire food supply of Egypt. Joseph stored food during the first seven years so that the country would survive during the subsequent seven.
After just a year or two of famine, Egypt was the only place around that had food left. And, sure enough, Joseph's brothers came to get food. Joseph could have demanded that his brothers repay him for abusing him, mistreating him, and selling him into slavery. But instead, Joseph forgave them -- he canceled their debt.
In your life, you will certainly be presented with situations in which you must choose either to try to force others to repay you for what they did to you or in which you can simply forgive them. Like Joseph, forgive!
In Western culture, many people place great value on possessions and on what one owns. This greedy mentality is embodied in the phrase: "He who dies with the most toys wins."
Yet when you die, you can't take anything with you: Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs (Ecclesiastes 5:15). It's no wonder that, when faced with the immediacy of death, one most easily realizes that everyday things are meaningless in the scope of eternity.
In Philippians 3:5-6, Paul lists many reasons why he could boast about himself. Yet, he recognizes that they pale in comparison to eternity, which is why he considers them rubbish in order to gain Christ (Philippians 3:9).
All this "stuff" we chase after will be gone. Therefore, make it your aim to live with eternal purpose and invest in eternal things; to spend all you have on what lasts forever.
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