There is a story in Genesis about a girl named Dinah. She was the only daughter of Jacob. And some commentaries paint her to be spoiled. She went out to a party and there met a young man, who happened to be the ruler’s son. His name was Shechem and he was very attracted to Dinah.
He took her and violated her. But somewhere in the middle of this he fell in love with her. So in his attempt to make all things right he asked to marry her. He asked his father to help arrange a marriage for him.
Dinah’s brothers Levi and Simeon heard about what had happened. They were furious and deeply troubled by what had happened to their sister.
It may be possible the reason they took such offense was because in those days the blood brothers would take care of their sisters. They felt disgraced, angry that Shechem had violated their good family name.
As Shechems father, Hamor tried to negotiate with Jacob over Dinah, the brothers plotted a plan to take revenge on their sister’s perpetrator. So while they told Shechem he could have Dinah if all the men in his city agreed to be circumcised as the Jews were, they knew exactly what they would do. On the 3rd day when all the men were in great pain from their circumcision Levi and Simeon took their swords and killed all the men of the city.
Their vengeful attitude took over as they focused on their own reputation. And God did not bless them. In fact when he gave the blessing he skipped over the first 3 sons and gave Judah, the 4th son The Blessing.
Was it wrong of the brothers to feel anger or sadness for the wrong that was committed against their sister?
what was wrong was their choice to deceitfully take up a sword after pretending they, in the name of religion, were interested in forgiving and restitution.
Forgiveness is not forgetting the wrongs done to us.
It’s not even granting a pardon.
It is however releasing the wrong-doer to God’s justice.
While we don’t typically take physical swords to avenge, do we use our tongues and words to kill?
Blessing when I am cursed.
Giving when I have received criticism.
Reaching out when I have been ignored.
Praying for those who falsely accuse me.
Am I willing to Learn from the greatest One who Forgave all?
The one who Knew no sin prayed, for the religious leaders, the poor, the rich, the sick, the men and women, for you and for me, as he hung there on that cross, in his last moments of life on earth,
“Father, Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. ~Luke 23:34
How can I do anything less?
What is he asking you to give to him today?
Could you open the door of your heart just a crack to let him replace the anger with love? You may always have the scar but you don’t need to carry the poison around one more day.
He promises that if we allow him to take the injustice he will one day make all things right.
The question is… Will I trust him to Do what He says He will do?
It may require Forgiveness every day.
But this is the blessing of promise.
Forgiveness is really a gift.
A gift that keeps bitterness from twisting its ugly viney legs around the heart and stealing the song that needs to be sung.
Freeing the spirit to soar above the painful memories of yesterday and releasing the feet that have been stuck in the fears of the Unknown.
To forgive, releases us to become people who fully live in the face of uncertainty.
It breaks the chains that tie us to the offender.
And makes us channels of grace to everyone around us.
God knew we would need it to continue this journey he has set our feet on.