Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.
We are often very slow to realize that blessing others results in our blessing. Here, Job’s full restoration came when he prayed for his friends – the very friends who ridiculed him and put him down to the point that they became proverbial. The more we get caught up in “What’s in it for me?” the less we are able to grasp the true blessings God has for us. I am constantly telling couples that the more each of them chases their own pleasure and happiness, the further it goes from them. It is when we focus on blessing each other that we discover the riches God has prepared for us. Of course, marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships, but that applies to a lesser degree to all of our relationships. That very much applies in the area of forgiveness. When we focus on how we have been hurt, wronged, or whatever, the pain and destruction of that injury just keeps going deeper. When we release that injury to God and choose to forgive the person who inflicted it, then healing begins. We say, “Time heals all wounds,” but that isn’t necessarily true. If those wounds aren’t released to God, then time tends to just drive them deeper and cover them over so they manifest differently. It’s said as a joke, but flipping that around to, “Time wounds all heels,” is if anything actually more accurate! When we are being heels, that is, self-centered jerks, we are ignoring and refusing the blessings God intends for us as His children. We all tend to be self-centered, but recent studies have shown that little children have an innate tendency to altruism, desiring to help others and offering help, often to the great surprise of adults. Sadly, that tends to get trained out of them rather quickly.
I am often quite aware of my own self-centered tendencies, but I have learned the blessing of blessing others. I just need to seek that blessing a bit more consistently! I’m very grateful that forgiveness comes much more easily to me that it seems to do for many people. Taking offense has never been a hobby of mine! I think that has been key to the high level of happiness I enjoy. I do get worked up about various things at times, but I have learned that holding onto them benefits no one, least of all me. Along with that I have learned that forgiveness is not at all the same thing as giving permission. That is a major issue in Japan, because the two words, though written differently, are homophones, and the average Japanese isn’t even aware of the character that means forgiveness as the Bible speaks of it. There are people who have wronged me and/or this church. I believe I have forgiven them, but I would not put them again in any position of responsibility until they showed concrete evidence of repentance. Some have, but some have not, and I need God’s wisdom and guidance in each case.
Father, every time I come around to this subject I am reminded of how incredibly forgiving You have been of me. Thank You. My response has not been adequate, because I keep doing things that need forgiveness! Help me remember that in my dealing with others, so that I will indeed forgive them from my heart and pray for their blessing, allowing Your grace to flow to us all, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!