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God's Kind of Forgiveness: 7 Milestones

    Posted by Klaus Issler on March 22, 2009

R.T. Kendall's Total Forgiveness offers seven checkpoints or milestones as indicators and prods to move us toward God’s kind of forgiveness, relying on his divine power to facilitate the healing:
  1. “Do not let anyone know what someone said about you or did to you.” [p. 45] Tell no one else what the perpetrator has done.  In Joseph’s case, by keeping the matter private he protected his brothers from any retaliation by the Egyptians, since Joseph was so revered in Egypt. Help set them free.
  2. “Do not allow anyone to be afraid of you or intimidated by you.” [p. 48]  Let them be safe in your presence.  Joseph invited his brothers to come closer and embrace them physically. Help set them free.
  3. “We will want them to forgive themselves and not feel guilty” [p. 52] Do not intentionally make them feel guilty about their evil act.  Love doesn’t keep records of wrong (1 Cor 13:5). Help set them free.
  4. “We will let them save face.” [ p. 54] “It is what God lets us do.” [p. 55]
  5. “We will protect them from their greatest fear.” [p. 58]  Though forgiven by Joseph, the brothers now had to go back to their father and explain.  So Joseph actually gives them words to say and thus protects them from letting this secret out, even to their father.
  6. “It is a life commitment.” [ p. 60]  Total forgiveness is a “life sentence”—forgive them as long as you live.  Even many years later, just after their father’s (Jacob’s) death, the brothers feared that Joseph might still have a grudge against them get back at them.  So they lied to Joseph and claimed that Jacob their father made this dying request that Joseph “ I [Jacob] ask you [Joseph] to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” (Gen 50:17).  Long ago, Joseph had totally forgiven them. His response to this deception: “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. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. (Gen 50:19-21). 
  7. “We will pray for them to be blessed.” [p. 63]  Jesus said to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:44-45).
Of course this is a tall order. It’s impossible to do in our own resources.  We invite God into minister his grace to us, to heal us, so we can extend grace and forgiveness to others.

Have you experienced total forgiveness? Have you tried giving this kind of forgiveness to others? What sort of freedom have you experienced as a result of forgiveness?

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Dr. Klaus Issler