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Kendall on Forgiveness

    Posted by Klaus Issler on March 20, 2009

How do we know we have really forgiven another person?

R.T. Kendall
, for 25 years the preaching pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, relies on a case study of Old Testament Joseph (Gen 45: 1-15) to provide very specific guidelines on this important matter (Total Forgiveness, Charisma House, 2002). Kendall offers seven principles based on how Joseph practiced forgiveness to his brothers, who had first plotted his murder, then had sold him into slavery to get rid of him.

Kendall recently gave a powerful talk on forgiveness at the Vineyard Anaheim, which you can freely listen to here or download here at your convenience.

For difficult hurts and woundedness, forgiving another can be a process that takes some time.  Joseph had many years to ponder his brothers’ evil to him. Then he had many months over which to specifically deal with his attitudes to his brothers as they came to request food.  So do not misunderstand me that in a Christian view of forgiveness, our feelings of hurt and pain can immediately be released. 

This process of healing may take some time, as we invite God’s gracious love and power to overwhelm our hurt hearts so that God’s peace and joy may replace these pains. But we must also appreciate that forgiving another is a choice, an act of the will. Furthermore, there are no conditions placed on the act—which we can wait to offer forgiveness until the perpetrator actually asks for forgiveness. Joseph forgave his brothers without their participation.

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Dr. Klaus Issler