We can still have breakthrough with God, even with unresolved hurt in our lives. How do we do this? How do we move forward in forgiveness?
All right. What a blessing to be able to share this time together. Hey, if you’re joining us for the first time, I’m Pastor Terry, I’m the Lead Pastor here at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. You know, our, our summer series as we’ve been making our way through these months of transition has been about surrender.
And the way we saw it is that so much of where we’re all going, has to do with trusting God better. Letting go and letting God. And so I want to pick back up with that. You know, I want to talk about today, what it means to surrender our hurt to the goodness of God. How do we do that? What does it look like?
And even now I just, I just want to pray. I’m going to ask God to bless. We’re about to share and Father I do pray. I pray for all of my friends, all my brothers and sisters, wherever we may be today in this moment, some of us gathered together in presence, sharing this, uh, you know, as a, as a congregation, others of us,
in places where we’re either by ourselves or with a few others, some of us in different parts of the, the nation, other parts of the world, even, but we’re all together, we’re all sharing something. We’re connected. And I do ask that You, you would speak to us, You know, what we need. You know the words we need to hear and You know the places that you want to heal that are inside of us.
So I welcome You now. Lord come, I pray. And pour out Your blessing. Meet us. Meet us, Lord. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. Well, we’re going to come to one of my favorite passages in all the scriptures. It’s Genesis 45. It’s the culmination of Joseph’s story, not the end of it, but the moment. It’s the great reveal. And it’s filled with such
raw emotion and just honest love. And even more, it shows us what forgiveness looks like and what a heart that’s been set free looks like. And so I just, you know, I’m just looking forward to it. Now, if you were called at Genesis 45, opens up with Joseph’s revelation of who he was remember up to this point, he’s been concealing his identity.
Nobody knows who he is. His brothers thought for sure. He was dead. A distant memory. Yeah. Never and I mean, never in their wildest dreams, did they suspect, not even for a fleeting moment, that the powerful and feared man of Egypt, the great and mysterious Zaphnath-Paaneah, the name that he was given by Pharaoh, the man who was second only to Pharaoh himself in terms of power. They would have.
Inconceivable that this man Zaphnath-Paaneah, Joseph was their long lost brother whom they had so callously, and dispassionately sold in Egypt. I mean, it was just, it seemed incredible. It, it was, it was, it wasn’t even something that they had thought of as a possibility, right? In the past few weeks, we’ve noticed how and noted how Joseph,
had determined through a series of challenges and tests that his brothers had changed and it had touched him and it really affected him. And, um, you know, we may wonder, oh, well, what would have happened if he had determined that they hadn’t changed? But that’s what it that’s just speculation because they had changed.
And he had, he had really, Joseph had really been impressed with his the way the brothers cared for young Benjamin. It was such a contrast to how he had experienced them. And even more, he had been touched by their, their devotion, their, their sincere concern for their aged father, Jacob. I mean, they really care about him.
And then of course, the culmination, and we looked at it last week with Joseph, I mean, Judas noble and eloquent sacrificial offer. Um, when he pleaded and interceded and then unexpectedly shockingly asked to take Benjamin’s place as a slave, when it was noted that Benjamin had supposedly stolen the cup, the cup was found in his sack.
And, um, if you recall, Joseph had said, you know, the rest of you are free to go only. He has to be the one who is held and Judah pleaded for him with, with such honest concern that Joseph was overwhelmed. He was just overwhelmed by the tenderness and the concern and the care that, that the genuineness of love that had,
stood in such a stark contrast to what he had experienced from these same men almost 20 years earlier. And it think about this, it was actually Judah who had incredibly come up with the idea of selling them into slavery. Right? And now it was Judah who was offering himself. And of course, one of Judah’s descendants, the one that they would call the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
Hm. Jesus would ultimately do that for all of us, that He would take our place. You pay a price for us that we can never pay for ourselves. He would give His life as a ransom for many. That in the midst of God’s saying someone has to pay the price as the poet songwriter, Keith Green would say, but who would be that nice to pay a debt that wasn’t His. Well,
I know someone like that. He’s your best friend. He really is. He really loves you. Talking about Jesus. Right? And going back to Joseph, Judas to this appeal to give his life up for his brother. Uh, it, it, it broke Joseph and that’s how Genesis 45 opens. With this moment, right? Look what it says. Verse one. Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him and he cried, make everyone go out from me.
And so no one stayed with him. When Joseph made himself known to his brothers, he was alone. And he wept aloud. They could hear that so that the Egyptians heard it. And even the household of Pharaoh heard the news spread to them as well. Joseph’s emotions are so overwhelming. He cannot contain them. Right?
The first, the water, then the, the drop falling down the cheek, and then the flood gates open and the years pass through it as he weeps from the depths of his soul. Years of painful memories of hurts still vivid. Uh, the changes that two decades have brought could not hide that hurt that was inside of him, the pain that he had felt nor did it conceal a yearning to return to his roots.
And to be able to say you are my brothers. Right? It was, uh, the, what it says, verse three and Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him. They were, they were dismayed at his presence that, that they were taken aback. They, they could not answer.
Uh, it was too much. Uh, they were stunned. They were trying to process what. I mean, they were disoriented in a way that we are, when we are confronted by a point of reality, that’s so different than the reality we have been operating in that we reel backwards, like, just dumbfounded by what initially we cannot process almost as if we are waiting for our mind to catch up, right?
With what we are experiencing. I mean you gotta understand they’re they’re watching this happen. This man that they’ve been so afraid of and unsure about, um, who’s been sending them all kinds of mixed messages. They fear him. Uh Zaphnath-Paaneah, and he’s an Egyptian and he’s powerful. And the next thing, you know, he’s saying I’m Joseph and he’s, he for both before he even says that he tells everybody to get out of the room, they don’t know what’s coming next.
Then he starts crying and weeping and wailing and, and he, he exclaims to them, “I’m Joseph! Is my father alive?” Right? It’s just, it was an inexplicably and startling display, weeping, and yelling for the servants to leave. While the heaves from the depth of his being, did he? And I can imagine them looking at one another.
Did, did, did, did he, did he say he was Joseph? That name they had not uttered. How did he and Joseph notices their speechless dismay. He says, so Joseph said, look, he said to his brothers, come, come, come, come here. Please please come. And they came near and he said to them, I am your brother, Joseph,
whom you sold into sold into Egypt. uh, is it possible? And then perhaps to quell the fear that was on their faces that he saw. And now, because far from them being released, enjoyed that they must’ve been a little terrified. And he says at verse five now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here.
What for God sent me before you too preserve life. Listen, listen, what you do is wrong. God had a plan though. You may have sold me, but God sent me. You may have sold me, but God sent me. You meant you, what you meant for my hurt. And you did. And I cannot deny that, but God meant it for our good. So what you meant for my hurt, God meant for our good, wow.
Both were true. Both statements were true. Isn’t that not the paradox, but of freewill and God’s sovereignty. Is not one to the exclusion of the other. It’s it’s both and. And that combination is never more on full display than right here in this moment when Joseph says you meant it, you meant it for harm, but you sold me.
But God sent me, you sold me, but God sent me and it’s sorta like Jesus on the cross. I mean, yeah, we think about it. I mean, what happened to our Lord was a result of the choices of human beings. The Jewish leaders conspired with the Roman officials and the soldiers, and He was put to death. He was ravaged and broken, beaten.
Stripped and humiliated. And He suffered at the hands of sinful men. And yet God was in it for Jesus said, Father, not my will, but Yours be done. Both were true. God’s sovereignty and free will of human beings working together and God bringing for the something of a purpose of His goodness on full display.
You may have sold me, but God sent me. And I just love that. Verse six for the famine has been in the land these two years. And yet there are five years in which they will be –. There will be neither plowing nor harvest. This isn’t done yet. My brothers, there are five years of famine yet to go. And I can tell you this, God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to keep alive for you many survivors.
This is part of a promise that God has made. He made it to our father, our father, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Our fathers, God meant to preserve them. And this is part of the plan. And then he says, so it was not for you. It was not you who sent me here, but God, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and Lord over all his house and ruler over the land of Egypt.
This is God who has done this, you know, Joseph wasn’t Joseph wasn’t free. This is so important. He wasn’t free because of what he achieved. I mean, he was free in the sense that before he had been living in the house of Pottipher as a slave, yes, a favored one, but nonetheless, a slave and he had been in prison and now he was in the palace.
You know, just because he had risen to a place of great prestige and power and, and had almost all of his natural needs met. Um, the pain was still there. Right? Um, and yet that pain hear me out. This is what I meant. It didn’t own him. It never did. I mean, it was. This is important. It wasn’t the mansion or the chariots, the houses or the car, right?
It wasn’t those things. It wasn’t his beautiful life or his beautiful wife. It wasn’t, that’s not what made him free. It wasn’t. For me, I know this because many, a man or a woman with such things is bound and tormented. They have everything and they have nothing that really matters. And, and, and, and what I mean by that, there’s still deep, deep trouble within, you know, I was reading, um, a few months back about, uh, a man named Tony Hsieh and, and his tragic decline into the abyss and, and ultimately his, his self-inflicted death.
And just reading about the details of his life and realized, you know, he had his so much and, he had all the money in the world. He could do whatever he wanted. Um, and yet he was so lost inside and clearly we see this happening all the time, fame, fortune, a beautiful face, these things they’re just temporary and they don’t one.
We don’t take them with us. But the other part of it is that this is not enough, not enough. Um, people can have so many things and still be deeply broken. We can have all kinds of, of the trappings of success and yet be imprisoned within and in deep pain and hurting and in need of validation and bound up in insecurity that what we see about Joseph is this.
He was free when he was a slave. He was free when he was in prison. And like we said, he was a success in the prison and in the palace, he was a man free before he ever reached the heights of, you know, fame in the house of Pharaoh. This is, this is something about who Joseph was, his however, however, that being said his pain inside was real and it had never been really resolved.
Now, it never owned him. Because his love and devotion to God became the overwhelming theme of his life. The unstuck, it made him unstoppable. Uh, it made him resilient. Uh, he was defined, remember growing over the wall and up and over, right. We talked about that Joseph was free because of God in his life, but it doesn’t mean that every hurt had been resolved.
It doesn’t mean that this trauma, was just completely forgotten. It was there. It was there. And you remember it, it, it wasn’t necessarily him denying the bad things that had happened to him, but rather it had always been a stubborn belief in God’s faithfulness. that had held him. It was that stubborn belief in God’s faithfulness that held him in his trial.
It wasn’t about denial, but a stubborn faith that held him, a stubborn faith in God’s faithfulness that held him through his trials. And that’s how it’s going to be with us as well. Do you see how healthy that is? What a powerful truth it is. You know, a hard step was a stubborn faith is, is a hard thing to shake.
And even, even unresolved hurt cannot overtake it. Even unresolved hurt cannot break it. That’s important for us to remember. I remember reading something, a woman named Jolynn Whittaker wrote, and I can’t even remember the exact context of it, but I remember jotting it down. Cause I remember how good it was.
Just, just the portion. It, it sort of captured what I think it means to be surrendered to Jesus. And this is what she wrote. She’s referring to a character she’s she wrote these words. She had no more time for what used to be. She was following Jesus to what should be. And as she let go, she let God. And when she let God, she broke through, she had no more time for what used to be.
She was following Jesus to what should be. And as she let go, she let God. And when she let God she broke through, I loved that for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it connects to our word for the year. Right? Breakthrough, it’s right there. Yeah. But again, the most profound truth for me is that we can have breakthrough in the Lord, even listen, even with unresolved hurt, we can still have breakthrough with God.
He said, well, how’s that? Yes, we can. And that’s called the grace of God at work in our lives. That’s that’s what I was trying to get at here with Joseph. For many, many years, he had unresolved hurt. It was there. The wound was there, the pain was real. His, the changes in his life had not removed that. And yet he was the same man.
He, he demonstrated that that, that unresolved hurt did not define him. He, he was able to live above that unresolved hurt because he had an anchor in God. That allowed him to prevail. And he took a chosen approach to his life that created a positive breakthrough, wherever he went and, and, and blessing flowed.
And it was just part of who he was and why I love him. And I’m so thankful that God gave him to us as an example. But, um, having said that, I think we would also agree. Just hear me out. I think you would agree with this. Resolved hurt is better than unresolved hurt. And listen, we may not always get that. For Joseph,
this moment, some 20 years later was an opportunity to resolve. It was kind of a full circle moment for him to resolve hurt. Um, although he didn’t live defined by that hurt. It was unresolved inside of him. Now, listen to me, please. We may not always get that. We may not always get that. People die and we don’t always have the conversation,
we wanted. Sometimes people don’t change and we can’t resolve the hurt with them.
What are we going to do? In some situations the hurt remains and will always remain to a certain degree unresolved. And there are a few things in my life that I’ve had to be at peace with that. And that’s where we must resolve to live in the grace of God as one loved in Christ. But I go back to what Whitaker wrote.
She had no more time for what used to be. She was following Jesus to what should be. And as she let go, she let God. And when she let God, she broke through, you know, Joseph had to choose to have mercy and to forgive them and bless them. And he did, he did. And that was a, a choice he made, uh, you know, and he had a lot of reasons to do it.
Uh, you know, he, he was blessed and he saw that they had changed. And so, honestly, forgiveness and mercy, it flowed out of him. If anything, in some ways it was, it was his healing moment as well. Right? But I thought about that. I was remember, I remember reading another situation that occurred. And you you’ve heard me,
some of you, have heard me talk about Corrie Ten boom. This is, I mean, wonderful woman, an author, a speaker, a survivor of, um, Ravensbruck the concentration camp. I mean, I mean, she, she she’s someone who I have been quoting a lot recently and I’ve been trying to equate myself a little bit more with her life.
And her inspiring stories is told actually in a book that’s called, “The Hiding Place”. And, and that, by the way that title had two meanings, one was, it was called a Hiding Place because there was a little hiding place where her family helped hide Jews who were being hunted by the Nazis. And she’s counted as one of the righteous because of that.
Um, but the hiding place had a double meaning because she also was making a clear reference in connection to Psalm 1:19, where the Psalmist declares the Lord. You are my hiding place. Oh God. You know, eventually Corrie and her sister Betsy were captured themselves. Uh, they were, like I said, put it into the notorious concentration camp,
Ravensbruck. There we know if you just read about her life, she suffered, she was dehumanized, but she survived. And through it all, she had retained a deep faith in Jesus. It was a faith that she had shared relentlessly in a faith that actually grew in her place of horrifying confinement. And later after the war, she, she became an advocate actually for peace and reconciliation, understanding and forgiveness.
She actually set up a rehabilitation center that helped concentration camp survivors. Also incredibly in this part, this was actually a rather controversial part of what she did. Even, she even set up housing for jobless, jobless, Dutch, who had collaborated with the Nazis and they had nowhere else to turn and she extended to them mercy as well.
And anyway, after the war, she felt led to preach and to share the message of forgiveness and reconciliation. And she declared to people God’s forgiveness of our sins in Christ, the ultimate reconciliation. And then she, she actually wanted to be a healer of all the wounds that were there. And so she, she preached relentlessly on the, on the need to forgive those who had harmed.
And, and that was a part of her life until she said one day something happened to her that rocked her world. It literally rocked her world and I’m going to read directly from what she wrote. It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, a former SS man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravenbruck.
He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there. The room full of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsy’s pain, blanched face. And he came up to me as the church was emptying beaming and bowing, how grateful I am for your message fraulein, he said. To think that as you say, he has washed my sins away. His hands
was thrust out to shake mine and I who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive. I kept my hand at my side, even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man. Was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed. Forgive me and help me to forgive.
I, I, I tried to smile. I struggled to raise my hand. I could not, I felt nothing. Not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again, I breathed the silent prayer. Jesus, I prayed. I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness. And as I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened, she writes. For my shoulder along my arm
and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges. No but on his, when he tells us to love our enemies, he gives us along with the command, the love itself.
Who can read that without being moved? I found it so powerful. I look, I hesitated to combine it with Joseph’s account because I thought if I combine Corrie’s account with Joseph’s account, I might end up diluting them both. Like both of their stories might mean less, but I actually see in the combination a kind of complimentary amplification, let me try to.
Try to explain what I mean by that. Corrie Ten Boom reminds us that some things are beyond ourselves. Some aspects of forgiveness, some aspects of healing, the hurts, um, that have been afflicted that we have experienced require a, uh, uh, a power greater than our own resolve. Uh, a power greater than our own intention.
Uh, like it requires the power of Christ to literally pulsate through us, almost like a miracle. It, if we are to overcome, we’re going to need a love greater than our own. Right? And so she really does model, uh, a kind of forgiveness and a healing of a hurt that is just a God thing. In Joseph’s case, he models for us
a forgiveness that in a desire to bless and return good to those who had hurt him. But it, it flowed out of a deep conviction. Remember how Joseph settled it in his heart? It flowed out of a deep conviction of around God’s goodness and sovereignty. He did not say this always has caught my attention.
Joseph did not say you sold me into slavery, but look, I’m a, I’m a, you know, I’m a very successful man now, so no big deal. No, he didn’t, he didn’t, he didn’t say that. He said you sold me, but God sent me, you sold me, but God sent me. He anchored it in God and his overarching plan to bring forth goodness even out of the pain.
And I think it’s really valuable because, for us to see these things from both angles. Uh, some, sometimes, and both of them were free, but I mean, they were free, free, you know, in Corrie’s case, she though had to forgive in that moment to get free. I think that was pretty clear. And there are some things that God will say for you to have my freedom.
You need to do this to be free. In Joseph’s case, he forgave because he was free. Right? And both, both are good. But one thing I do know only the free can really set free and only the truly free can truly set free. That when our heart is free in Christ, we are free to bless.
And I don’t know the areas in our lives where we have hit roadblocks. And I don’t know the areas of our struggle. And I don’t know if our hurt is a hurt that can be resolved or hurt that will never, ever, ever actually completely be able to be resolved. It’s okay. In both places. The Lord is with us. There might be some things that we can do because we’ve gotten to a place like Joseph, where there’s a mature enough component of our faith that we see a bigger picture.
And honestly, we’ve been overwhelmed by the grace of God. We can move forward and we can bless, and we don’t have to hold onto the things of our paths that would bind us. But in other cases, it’s going to be like Corrie, where we’re going to have to take everything we have. And even there, it may not be enough.
And that’s where God’s power His supernatural power at work in our life. The power of the risen Jesus at work in our life can set us free. To do what on our own we could never do. And I’m saying, whom the son sets free is free indeed, loved one. My brother and my sister let’s live in His freedom. The freedom of His love and the freedom of His light.
Let’s walk. Yeah. In His sunlight