Genesis 50:15, 19-20 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Watching Selma and reflecting on all the atrocities that African-American’s went through to get their civil rights opened up old wounds. I took my children to see it not because I wanted to make them angry but to show them the resilience of our people. Dr. King was punched, hit with bricks, stabbed, spit on, threatened, black mailed, and murdered. He knew that he would die for this cause. How did he not hold a grudge? Better yet how do we “the children of the dream” not hold a grudge?

It’s hard to let go of past offenses especially when it was intentional. Revenge seems in order for some of the evil things people have done to us but there is something deeper that overrides our need for revenge.

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father had died they were afraid that Joseph was going to get revenge for them selling him into slavery as a child. When Joseph saw that they were afraid he expressed a strange emotion. He cried. Why? He realized why he had to go through what he went through. It wasn’t his brothers cruelty but it was God using their insecurities to send him forth to secure a future for his people.

Dr. King said

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community

Why we can’t hold grudges:

1. It perpetuates the evil. Forgiveness breaks the cycle of hate. Dr. King said, “the mentality of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave us all blind and toothless.” You cannot ever mend a relationship giving tit for tat. You have to treat people as you would want them to treat you.

2. It blinds you from the greater purpose. Joseph told his brothers it was for the saving of many lives that God sent me here.

3. It restricts you from being used by God for something greater. Joseph said I will provide for you and your families. Dr. Keep my new that if he gave into hate that he would never realize the dream for an America free from racism and injustice. He had to sacrifice his need for revenge.

4. It keeps you a prisoner of negative emotions. Joseph was a slave and a prisoner the last thing he was going to do was stay in a mental prison of unforgiveness.

If we are going to make this a more perfect union we have got to let go of our grudges. Forgiveness is not forgetting it the decision to move on to better relations while learning from our regrets. I’m going forward not back.

Dear God,

Help me to go forward today and let go of every grudge. I have so much to accomplish for you and I will not allow my pain from my past to cloud my future. I’m releasing ever painful memory and every person that caused me pain. I have too much to accomplish. The best revenge I could get is to succeed and eat the banquet you have prepared for me in the presence of my enemies. Thank you for letting me go forward and not backwards.

In Jesus Name,

Amen