Friday, June 5, 2009

Forgiveness Part 2: You think you got a raw deal?

Hey gang!

The video for today is from a band called Pray For Rain. Well, actually it is a fan made video of the song. Goldie’s Last Day is what it says; it is the last day of a poor dog. The funny part of the video is the bridge where they intend to make it a murder mystery by telling us that poor Goldie met harm in not so nice a way.

What does the video have to do with forgiveness? I hear all those brains thinking. C’mon Frank, this is pretty lame. It’s pretty hard to forgive death that’s not an accident, as the song says.

But haven’t we all had days where bad things have been done to us and we say, “No way. I’m not forgiving that.” You already have the thought in your head of a time it has happened to you. You know you do. Think it’s pretty bad. Think that we’d agree that it’s unforgivable. I have a story for you. Here are some pretty unforgivable things that happened.

There was this boy. He was the youngest of brothers. You know how babies are. Idolized by their parents because they're the last in the family. Especially dads and their boys. Dads are really bad about showing favortism, at least that’s what my wife tells me. The boy was pretty special. His dad loved him so much that he made this jacket for him. No, not that cool letterman’s jacket I drooled all about in high school. No, not that leather jacket “The Fonz” wore that made him cool like James Dean. This was a coat of many colors. We might have not thought much of it. But the boy wore it like it was the greatest thing. He bragged about that jacket every day to his brothers. “Man! Look at this jacket!”

That wasn’t enough for this little guy though. He was so into his little universe with him being the sun that he had a dream that he was the sun and his brothers revolved around him and bowed down to him. His dad tried to stop him. “You know son, telling that story probably isn’t a good idea.” He just wouldn’t shut up. This got his older and bigger brothers pretty mad.

This little boy stayed home with his dad while the brothers worked out in the fields. He went out to them one day with some lunch wearing that jacket and the brothers devised a plan. Probably at first, all they wanted to do was scare him. You know, drop him in a hole and let him cry like a little girl for a while. They’d laugh and laugh. He’d learn his lesson. Then instead of learning his lesson, he’s like, “You wait until I tell dad!” That scared the brothers a little. Dad was mean when he was angry. They couldn’t let him go run off and tell dad.

So this traveling salesman came by looking for slaves to take to market. The older boys thought, “Hey! This is how we’ll get rid of him!” One brother thought it was a bad idea. Surely, dad would find out. The salesman assured them that he was going far away. The boys thought and went, “OK, but just so dad doesn’t go on a search for him, we need a piece of that jacket to take home.” The salesman is like, “Sure!” So our salesman takes him away into a far country and sells him off.

The boy was sold off to a high ranking official. He wasn’t “the leader”, but he was pretty high up. The boy lived in this house and was pretty smart and so his master thought the boy showed promise and eventually put him in charge of taking care of everything for him. The master had nothing to worry about. The boy was good. But then, something happened.

This boy was a good looking young man by now and it isn’t just men that go through middle age crises. This leader’s wife thought the boy was hot and she did pretty much everything to try to get the boy to take a bite out of her apple, if you know what I mean. He was like a lot of other people. He was terribly afraid of having his first time be with an older, married woman. She had pulled off his loin cloth and he ran, letting her keep it. Since she was rejected, she did what any mean, vindictively scorned woman would do. She lied her butt off. She told her husband that it was the boy that was trying to pluck her flower and that she screamed to resist him. His master did what any man that thought one of his "boys" was cheating with his wife. He threw the boy in jail.

He was upset to be in jail, but he didn’t wallow about it and finally was put in charge of all those held in prison by the warden of the jail. The warden didn’t have to worry. That boy was still a great worker.

Eventually, he made some friends. They were talented guys. One poured drinks real well and the other was a great chef who made great meals. As talented as they were, the master was a tough guy to please and one day they gave him a bad soda that fizzed in his face and got all over his clothes and the food got ruined and tasted horrible. So they got tossed in jail too.

They were all tired one night and both men went to bed and had dreams. Messed up dreams. Stuff you wake up from and go, “What in the world was that about?” They asked their friend, who just so happened to be able to interpret dreams (you pick up things like that in jail) and he told them what they meant. So before they got out, the boy told them not to forget him.

About two years later, the guy that poured the drinks started talking to his new boss, the leader of the country, after the boss had a bad dream and said, “Hey, you know that boy, the one who interpreted my dream, he could do the same for you.” He called for the boy and sure enough, he interpreted the dream. The leader gave him control of everything but his throne.

The dream was that the land the boy oversaw would be very prosperous for seven years followed by seven years of famine. He ran the country like a champ. He stored up for those seven years of hard time and once they came, everyone from all around came to the land to get some help.

Everyone including those loving brothers of his. Yeah, the ones that threw him in the pit and sold him. They came to town and right up to the boy. They didn’t even recognize him. He remembered, so like any brother that had been thrown in a pit and sold, he tossed them in jail for being spies.

After three days, he was feeling merciful. He told them to go home and bring the new youngest boy to him to verify they weren’t spies and he would believe them. But they had to leave another brother in jail in the meantime. The brothers thought they were being punished because the man knew of what they did to their brother. But they did as they were told and were given provisions for the trip and for his dad.

Once they returned, he had his silver cup put in the little brother’s sack and kept him as a slave for this. After a discussion, he lets them know who he is, the long lost enslaved brother that they were wrong to. He commanded his brothers to go get his father to come to him for safety and preservation for the remainder of the famine.

That boy was Joseph of the Bible. You can read his story for yourself in Genesis 37-50. He saved the nation, but had to go through all the trials to make it happen.

Think you’ve been wronged. I’m not lessening the wronged feelings that you have. I’m not telling you that it’s OK for people to wrong you. But sometimes the wrong is part of God’s plan. As much as you want to put the slice and dice of life to the people that wrong you, we have to learn to remain calm and continue to work for God so that he continues to be a part of your life as you are going through the trials. You will be blessed, eventually. How? That’s between you and God. I don’t have the answers, I just know that you have to remain consistent during these times. You can’t take the attitude of "people have done me wrong, so God, you owe me. Make it up to me, NOW!"

Is it easy to remain consistent when you are down over being wronged? Do you think it was easy for Joseph after he got sold off by his brothers? This was family that was supposed to love him. Are your family and friends not loving you right right now? Stay calm, be consistent and continue to wait until the windows of heaven open.

I love you guys!

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