Faith + Patience Part 59 – Living Free of Guilt and Shame!

by Rick

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Today we continue our series entitled, “Faith and Patience Volume IV — The Wonder Twins.”  I am using Joseph as an excellent example of our need for patience.  We are seeking to learn from the different phases of Joseph’s life.  Let’s get into it.

(James 1:2-4 TPT)

2  My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 

3  For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 

4  And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1 ERV)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.

(Genesis 45:1-3 MSG)
1  Joseph couldn’t hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, “Leave! Clear out—everyone leave!” So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers. 

2  But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace.

3 Joseph spoke to his brothers: “I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say a word. They were speechless—they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing.

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Forgiveness frees the forgiver.

We live in a society where grudges are commonplace.  Hospitals are full of patients whose physical illnesses were initiated by holding on to hatred, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.  Many people just can’t seem to find it within themselves to forgive.  These grudges cause emotional baggage that eventually eats away at their peace.  I seriously doubt Joseph could have become the man God destined him to be if he had lived with a root of bitterness in his heart towards his brothers.  The fact that he was weeping uncontrollably when he was reunited with his brothers, instead of being filled with hated and malice, is a clear indication that he had “released” them in his heart a long time before this event.

— Holding on to bitterness is like drinking poison and thinking that the other person is going to get sick.  They have moved on with their lives.  But you never will, until you truly LET IT GO in your heart!

— When you truly forgive, you RELEASE the person of the wrong done to you, but you also RELEASE yourself to move forward!

2.  Relationships can cause amazing joy and also tremendous pain.   

While Joseph had clearly moved on with his life, and he was not worrying about the past, his brothers could not say the same thing.  They were living with their mistake, and it was eating away at them for over 20 years.  Many people live this way.  Guilt, shame, and remorse overshadow them, and as long as they allow the guilt to remain, they will never operate to their max potential.

When something terrible happens in a relationship, there is a danger on both sides of the transgression.  The transgressor must learn to forgive him or herself, and the transgressed must learn to forgive the transgressor.  Unless both are done, a single act can ruin both sides.

In our story, Joseph was the transgressed, and the brothers were the transgressors.  Joseph had already forgiven the brothers in his heart, but the brothers were still holding on to the guilt of what they had done.  They did not know Joseph’s whereabouts.  They thought he was dead, and his supposed death lingered over their heads for over two decades.  Joseph, on the other hand, found it in his heart to forgive, and he was thriving.  He moved on with his life.  He refused to live with the pain of his past.  Joseph forgave them because he loved them, and because of his relationship with God.  This is why he cried uncontrollably.  He was crying tears of joy.

— There are no Lone Rangers in the Body of Christ.  We were designed to live our lives with others.  To do so, the way God wants us to, we must learn to forgive, to be developing a forgiving heart, and to tap into the power of forgiving YOURSELF!

— If you learn to make the most of the relationships God wants you to have, you will live a fantastic life, and you will contribute to the lives of others.

3.  You have NOT Disqualified yourself from Your Destiny!   

This series is about living by faith and developing patience along the way.  It should be clear to you by now that we need faith AND patience in order to obtain the promises of God (Heb 6:12).  Most of this series has been dedicated to Joseph.  Let’s take a moment to focus on his brothers.  They were called too.  They had a destiny as well.  They actually have entire TRIBES of Israel named after them to this day.  And as you can see from the text, they spent over 20 years of their lives thinking that they had ruined their lives with ONE BAD DECISION.

a)  You are called to the destiny God designed for you before the world began.  God called you by grace, not merit.  God also called you with divine foreknowledge of everything you would ever do, both good and bad.  So God considered your bad decisions, and He called you anyway.  This means you can never disqualify yourself because you never qualified in the first place.  God did not call you based on your performance.  God called you based on His love.

b)  Paul taught us that “faith works by love” (Gal 5:6).  When I was a young Christian, I thought that Paul meant that my faith would be strong when my love walk was strong.  So I tried to walk in love with everyone because I did not want to stifle my faith.  But if you read the entire letter from Paul to the believers in Galatia, the Apostle is focusing on God’s grace and NOT our performance.  So “faith works by love” cannot mean that my faith is going to work when my love for God is perfect.  What it means is that my faith will be strong when I realize that God’s love for me is perfect.  Faith works by love because faith only truly works when you are convinced that God loves you and that He is move committed to you than you are to Him!  Read these two scriptures and give them some thought:

(2 Tim 2:13 AMP)

If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.

(Heb 8:12 KJV)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

4.  God is greater than your heart!   

The Apostle John said, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (1 Jn 3:20 NIV)

When you do something wrong, the devil will remind you of it over and over again, so you can live with condemnation in your heart.  This is what happened to Joseph’s brothers.  

— When you feel condemned, you run FROM God.

— The Holy Spirit does not come to condemn you.  He comes to convict you of your righteousness.  When you are convicted and reminded of who you are in God, you run back TO Him and not away from Him!

Satan wants you to feel condemned in you heart.  But John said that when your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart.  Why?  Because He knows all things.  He already knew the mistake you were going to make and He called you to your destiny ANYWAY!  So stop beating yourself up for your mistakes.  Receive forgiveness from God, forgive yourself, and keep going!  You have not derailed yourself from your decision.  Greater is coming for you!

Declaration of Faith

Father, Joseph learned to forgive over the years.  By the time the situation presented itself, he was able to love his brothers, in earnest, because he had RELEASED them in his heart.  I declare that I am like Joseph and Jesus.  I am able to forgive.  Not only do I forgive, but I also receive forgiveness.  I will not allow guilt and shame to rob me of my future.  I strive forward with guilt-free living, and I experience the removal of all the heaviness that has kept me down in the past.  I am FREE to move forward!  GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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