I remember I used to get home after a long day of high school and all I would want is food and to lay down on the couch. However, I have a wiener-dog. Although he is probably the cutest thing you will ever see, this little man has a major peeing problem. I can often recall myself scolding him as I stepped over his pee to get some wipes from the bathroom. I can also remember that the entire time I cleaned his pee and right after I scolded him, he never left my side. He continuously wagged his tail and licked my hands. He never once held a grudge against me for getting mad at him. He simply brushed off my anger and loved me better.
The forgiveness of a dog is a powerful lesson. As an avid dog lover – I am constantly around dogs and being around them teaches me surprising lessons . In the Bible, one can learn a lot about how Jesus wants us to forgive. In the story of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37-50), we see a powerful act of forgiveness. Joseph has dreams that his family will one-day bow down to him. Joseph’s father pays a lot of attention to him. Like many reasonable people would, his brothers see these dreams and constant attention from their father as a threat. They make the decision to get rid of Joseph so they won’t have to worry about him. They set up his death by selling Joseph to become a slave, killing a lamb and washing Joseph’s coat in lambs’ blood. They bring the coat back to their father and pretend to weep over Joseph, telling their father that he was attacked and died.
Just thinking about the brothers and how they treated Joseph, I don’t want to forgive them. They were bullies to Joseph and were definitely not what brothers are supposed to be. However, like the brothers, I am sure many of us can relate to how they were feeling. I know that I have acted out of jealousy, causing a situation that puts others down and builds up a wall. I know I have chosen the seemingly “easy” path to not forgive and to continuously use the excuse, “but she did that to me so she doesn’t deserve forgiveness.”
Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.”
What a beautiful truth that is “…as God in Christ forgave you.” Who are we to not forgive someone when our heavenly Father forgives us for not one but ALL of our sins? Christ is quick to hold on to the good in us and see that we are worth more than our sins.
Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be genuine, abhor what is evil hold fast to what is good.”
This is what we are called to do as Daughters of the King. We are called to look past what that one girl did to us, look past the endless high school drama, look past the pain we feel when we are betrayed. We are to look at what is good in people; just as God forgives us so quick for so many sins, we also should forgive others.
Joseph found his way from being a slave to being second only to Pharaoh through constant trust in God. A great famine spread over the country, leading Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to find food. Joseph was quick to forgive and overjoyed, “Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking feely with him.” What a beautiful example of what it looks like to forgive in God’s eyes. While we might not have been sold into slavery or betrayed by our brothers, I am sure many of us have dealt with other trials with quick emotions, too easily pushing forgiveness out of our minds. But we are called to be higher and put God’s words first.
This takes me back to the forgiveness of a dog. It seems silly to be more like a dog, but I really believe that if we were all as quick to forgive as dogs are, then our world would be more Heaven-like. Let’s choose today to let go of those burdens we are creating on ourselves. Let’s choose freedom and forgive in His name.