Genesis 37:28 / 50:20

 

I so appreciate all your love this past week. It has been a long time since I felt so loved by so many people.  The last 10 days has been a ride of lows and highs.  Last week you could see I was shaken by the rejection I felt from my birth mother and you reached out and ministered to my soul.  Thank you!

 

Life is hard but God is good.

 

I was thrown in a pit and you lifted me out. I know you are still concerned about me but I am fine, I am at peace.  Over the last 14 years I have had guilt for not pushing harder to keep a relationship with my birth mother.  After she called me this past Monday I know I have nothing to feel guilty about.

 

So the sage continues –

She told me she did not know how to react when she saw me.  She wanted to protect her grandkids who don’t know about me.  She said she loves me but she has a funny way of showing it.

 

Last week I wanted parents to make sure they never made their children feel rejected. Mom, Dad, do whatever it takes to let your kids know you love them and would never reject them.  You love them but you have a funny way of showing it.

 

Today I want all of us kids to know that our parents love us even if they don’t know how to show us. I truly believe that my birth mother loves me but she doesn’t want me in her life.  She doesn’t even want to be Facebook friends.  Even with what she said to me on Monday I do know she loves me in her way.  I will let her love me in absence and be open if she ever wants to talk with me in the future.

 

I have asked many of you that if your dad didn’t have arms would you be mad if he never hugged you?

I won’t be made at my birth mother for not being able to handle me in her life – she has other loved ones to consider – I have not been there and she doesn’t know how to find room now.  She has put up walls of protection and has made me out to be an unsafe person – a person who hurts her and rejects her.  She shared many times when I hurt her.  Like when I did not introduce her to Sarah’s doctors in a proper way or when my mom who was in the nursing home dying and I did not stay up to talk with her.

I listened to these kinds of comments for almost 2 hours.  She told me how I had hurt her when I came into her life; and how I made her feel rejected.  She said she could have sued the hospital for giving me information about my birth.

(I first found her 1997, after Michael died – I wanted to give her comfort, letting her know I was ok, I thought that her getting to see me would bring healing to her (I was wrong); I also wanted to see if there were any known medical issues that would prevent us from having more kids with a heart defect. We learned nothing – Seth was healthy, Sarah had same heart condition as Michael as you know.)

That first day I meet her she was not sure she wanted to meet me; she couldn’t handle it. She deals with a lot of guilt over letting me be adopted – I told her “Adoption is the Loving Option”

I have always believed that – she just feels guilty.

 

Her guilt is part of the reason she is treating me as she is. If you don’t or didn’t have a relationship with your parents know that they were dealing with a lot of guilt.  Knowing this helps but the sting of outward rejection still hurts.  Your parents deal with guilt and they are selfish as well, they have to protect their emotions and actions or they would go crazy.  They love us but they have a funny way of showing it.  They don’t love us how we like or need but I believe no matter their actions the do love us.

 

Parents don’t make your kids question your love – tell them and show them.

 

Let your love be known in every relationship – especially marriage.

We say and do hurtful things and don’t mean to be hurtful.

The foundation of marriage is:  I Love You – You’re my friend not my enemy.

The motive of a friend is Love. The motive of an enemy is hate.

Know that your spouse is your friend and their motivation is love.  They won’t get it right all the time but their love is true, believe it, even if they have hurt you in the past. You want the benefit of the doubt, so give it to your spouse.

 

Sometimes you will feel rejected and hurt in all relationships, often that is not because of you but because of what they are dealing with. “It is not me, it is you.”

It is not a reflection of me or who I am that my birth mother doesn’t want anything to do with me now.

That is true for you also.

 

When you are blindsided by rejection that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They are motivated by guilt not hate. Run to Jesus for comfort and strength.

 

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

When you find rest and comfort in Jesus you will be able to move past your pain and minister to others with the comfort and rest Jesus gives.

 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

 

Some of you have felt more rejection than I have because you were neglected or abused. Even if your parent doesn’t love you, rest in God’s love and forgive them.  Anger and unforgiveness is a prison you keep yourself in.  Don’t let those who have abused you continue to have control over your life.

 

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

 

God loves you even if you believe you are unlovable. You are not unlovable, important people in your life are so broken they don’t know how to love themselves let alone know how to love you.

 

Let go of your anger and forgive.

 

Luke 6:27  “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

 

This is a tall order but we are able to love those who hurt us because we are in Christ.

 

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 

Let’s take a peek into Joseph’s life – he forgave his brothers and was able to see God at work in his life.

 

At 17 Joseph was hated by his brothers and they decided to kill him but then changed their minds to just throw him in a pit. You know later they decided to make some money and sold him into slavery.

Can you imagine being the favorite son to being sold into slavery by your own flesh and blood?

 

Genesis 37:17 … So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19  “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20  “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” 21  When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. …23  So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe–the richly ornamented robe he was wearing– 24  and they took him and threw him into the pit.

 

Joseph’s life was not getting any better – hated by his brothers and thrown in a pit to die only later sold as a slave. But as a slave he was blessed by God only to be falsely accused by his master’s wife and then thrown in prison.  Thirteen years of his life was hard labor or prison.  At the age of 30 (Gen. 41:46) the Pharaoh’s cup bearer remembered his ability to interpret dreams (Genesis 41:9).

 

Genesis 41:14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. 15  Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16  “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

 

So Joseph was second in the kingdom of Egypt. Finally, after seven good years of crops and then two years of famine in the land Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt for food.  Joseph is now 39 years old, 22 years since his brother’s wanted to kill him.

 

Joseph tested them, he accused them of being spies to see what kind of men they were now. They believed they were being punished.

 

Genesis 42:21  They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come upon us.” …24  (Joseph)  turned away from them and began to weep,

 

He filled their bags and sent them home. Joseph had not harbored bitterness for all these years.  He loved his brothers and was kind to them.  He had forgiven them even if they had not forgiven themselves.  They had been carrying guilt for all these years.  Guilt is a powerful emotion, it is a damaging and crippling emotion.

 

Joseph brought his dad and his whole family to Egypt to take care of them through the rest of the famine (Genesis 46). The family lived in harmony for 17 more years.  What more could Joseph had done to show his brothers he did not hate them.  What else did he need to do to show them he forgave them and loved them?  But his brothers still feared him, they had not forgiven themselves and they had not accepted Joseph’s forgiveness.

 

Genesis 50:15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16  So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17  ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18  His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19  But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21  So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

 

If you are having trouble forgiving yourself I have an article that will help, let me know and I will send it to you. (Article below)

 

Joseph chose not to react as a victim, he was victimized by others actions but he didn’t react as a victim. He forgave and moved forward.  You and I can choose not to react as a victim either.  We can rest in God’s love and peace.

 

It doesn’t matter that my birth mother implied on Monday that it would have been better if I had never found her or that if she could do it all over again she would have never dated the boy who got her pregnant.

(You thought she would have said, she would not have given me up for adoption. No, she said she wished I would have never been born.)

When I texted Vicki what she said, Vicki texted back, “We are certainly thankful that you were born!!!!!!”

Did my birth mother not realize what she just told me? No matter how rude and selfish that comment was I was not and am not angry.  I know she is a broken woman who has carried guilt for nearly 50 years.

 

Towards the end of our conversation it really turned into a counseling session. I encouraged her to forgive herself for the decision she made when she was 19 years old.  I told her she does not have to carry around guilt.  I have had a good life – I tuned out ok.

 

There are a few points I want you to take home today.

Know God loves you and accepts you even if you don’t feel the love of your parents.

Know your parents do love you in their own way.

Forgive those who hurt you.

Their actions were out of their own guilt and shame; it is not a reflection of you.

Move forward, don’t live in the past.

Let Jesus comfort the hurt.

 

Philippians 3:12  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

We have all been hut in the past – forget the past and move toward a bright and glorious future.

 

Let Jesus pull you out of your pit.

 

Come to Jesus and know your future in Heaven will be awesome.

Will you surrender your hurt and your sin to Jesus?

Will you come to Him – believing, repenting and willing to be immersed into Him?

Come and receive the gift of forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Forgive yourself

 

To not forgive yourself means you continue to hold onto guilt and pain and demand the impossible — that you be someone other than yourself, other than who you were when you hadn’t yet learned the lesson you gained from your mistake.

 

If you would like to practice a forgiveness exercise (and it can take a bit of practice), consider whether the following might work for you in considering what someone has done to you.

Imagine the person who has offended you in some way is standing in front of you as he was when he said or did something hurtful and say something like this: “When you said or did _______ , I was hurt and angry. I would have preferred you _____ . But you did not. When I think about what you said or did, I have let myself feel anger, resentment, pain, bitterness. I have held onto my demand that you should have said or done something different. I no longer choose to hold onto the tension and hurt that accompanies my memory of what you said or did.”

“Therefore, I cancel the demands, expectations and conditions I placed on you that you should have ____. You are totally responsible for your own actions and deeds.” “I now send my love or (if that word is too strong) acceptance to you as a human being, just as you were and are now.”  Then imagine that your love or acceptance is going out to the other person. Take your time to experience how your body feels when you release the conditions you placed on this person to be someone he did not know how to be or, for whatever reason, was unable to be.

 

This kind of forgiveness exercise recognizes the amount of power you have over other people’s actions — that’s right, YOU DON’T HAVE ANY. While you can have strong preferences that someone behave in a certain way, you cannot control another person no matter how much you might demand they act as you would want them to — and no matter how reasonable those expectations may seem to you and to anyone who agrees with your position. They are responsible for their actions and you are only responsible for yours. Holding tightly to the expectation that others behave as you would have them behave is contrary to the way things work and thus unnecessarily stressful.

When you are through with the exercise, allow relief to seep into every pore of your body as you release your demand that others be someone they are not.

 

To use this same kind of forgiveness exercise for yourself can also be very healing.

You can begin to forgive yourself by realizing that when you made the mistake(s) for which you now criticize yourself you did not wake up in the morning and deliberately set out to mess up your life or to harm someone else. If you had known how to make better choices, you would have. At the time you did the best you could. Therefore, you can forgive yourself by using words similar to those above and applying them to yourself. Imagine you are saying them to the person you were in the past, even if the past was a short time ago.

As you say those words, allow yourself to be both the giver and receiver of forgiveness, letting that love flow through every part of your body. Feel the release of tension that comes from forgiveness.