Forgiving Forward

Jon Burgess


10When Job prayed for his friends, theLordrestored his fortunes. In fact, theLordgave him twice as much as before!11Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials theLordhad brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of moneyand a gold ring. Job 42:10-11


The very nature of relationships requires forgiveness. God forgave Job. Job forgave his friends and blessing was released. Forgiveness is not an option in God's estimation. See how God told Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar "My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve..."(vs 8). He didn't say, "Job might forgive you and pray for you. He didn't say, "In Job is really going to need some time to get over the awful things you said so, come to him in a year or maybe 10." No, there was an immediate expectation of forgiveness on Job's part. Look at what else was immediate after the forgiveness, "When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes."Resentment clings to the pain of the past and camps out there. Forgiveness moves us forward into blessing and renewed relationships. Just to make sure I got the point this morning Paul addresses the same thing in today's reading in 2 Corinthians 2: "5I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me.6Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough.7Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement.8So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him."


I had the joy of spending time with my family in Bend, Oregon this past weekend. I miss them very much and was thankful for the chance to catch up with them. Bend is full of memories for me, especially for my late Grandpa and Grandma who had lived there. My heart winced again at the painful memory of my Grandma Joy's funeral right there in Bend. Some of her sons didn't even come because of unforgiveness towards her and the family. They weren't there on her last days and they weren't there to honor her memory. My Grandma had forgiven them but they refused to do the same. Just like God to Job and Paul to the church in Corinth we are being asked to forgive those who have hurt us so that we can move forward. My Uncles missed their chance to reconcile with their Mom before she passed away. I don't ever want to make that mistake. Here's the thing. None of us know how long we have. We often will put off the awkward and strained conversations that facilitate forgiving forward, but God wants an immediate response. We must not put off until tomorrow what needs to happen today. Otherwise we will get stuck in the pain of yesterday and miss out on the blessing God has for us today!


The Holidays are upon us and these bring up many emotions. Lot's of hard and hurtful things happen around this time of year. I pray that the picture of Job's last day's would come to pass in our days as we forgive forward. The double portion blessing, the reconciliation with former friends, the feasting with family in the home, the comfort of companions, the restoration of provision for all that had been lost, and the strength of character in our children. Lord, may not withhold forgiveness so You don't have to withhold the blessing.

Devotions for November 15

Job 41,42
2 Corinthians 1,2

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