After my recent message from Genesis 45 on the forgiveness Joseph extends to his brothers, a young man named Jordan shared with me how he and his brother had not spoken in over 9 months. Jordan was agonizing over the broken relationship between the two because they were so close over the course of their lives.
Both married with kids, a break in the brothers’ relationship had occurred when Jordan’s sister-in-law began to demonstrate very bad behaviors as a result of a substance abuse problem. She had gotten out of control and Jordan had to make a decision not to expose his kids to her behaviors. As he communicated the hard decision to keep his kids away from his brother’s wife, a huge rift between the brothers occurred.
Words were exchanged and Jordan was deeply heart. When he approached me after the forgiveness message, there had been 9 months of silence between the brothers. Jordan asked me for some advice regarding his relationship with his brother (even as he told me that he had begun to forgive in his own heart during the sermon). He emphasized what I had emphasized. God calls us to forgive in our hearts those who have wronged us even when “I am sorry” never comes from them.
We prayed together. We prayed that the Lord would soften hearts. Jordan had clearly been very emotional during the end of the service. His sincerity to repair the brokenness was obvious. My heart was heavy for him as I prayed for the whole heart-wrenching situation between the two brothers.
That night Jordan emailed me telling me of the relief he had felt as he had begun the forgiveness simply in his own heart that morning at church. He then shared that 5 hours after we had prayed together his brother had texted him. Yep, after 9 months of cold, heavy-hearted silence, this simple unprompted text came: “Hello, we miss you and the kids. Do you want to get together soon?”
Jordan simply concluded his email to me celebrating God’s answer to our prayer by saying: “I am absolutely speechless!”
Not every story of personal forgiveness sees immediate softening of hearts, but forgiveness always trumps bitterness. God works in hearts that are open to His renewing grace. Jordan opened his heart. God began to work way beyond what he every expected.
While I am praying for continued healing and restoration in this family, I too am “absolutely speechless” at God’s amazing grace in the midst of our brokenness! Are you holding on to a hurt, a wrong with which someone has wounded you? Forgiveness and restoration are not the same thing. But, if there is ever going to be restoration between you and the one who has wronged you, it will start with forgiveness!