May 4, 2016

Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.

The way I read this, Job had to forgive his friends before God could/would restore him to full prosperity. There was ample opportunity for Job to hold a grudge, considering all that his friends had said to him, but holding grudges is poisonous. Job also had to forgive God, but God had taken care of that in the interchange that preceded this. Nothing blocks the flow of God’s blessings more quickly or thoroughly than unforgiveness. Jesus said essentially that it can even block our salvation. (Matthew 6:14-15) The world is full of sayings like, “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” but someone who lives like that has already poisoned themselves. Much of the violence in the world comes from this very thing, as individuals and nations “pay each other back” for wrongs real or imagined. The thing is, if that is our attitude, then we will indeed imagine wrongs done to us so that we will be “justified” in our actions toward others. That is evident in the news every day, with every imaginable form of violence. The incredible thing is how many of those perpetrating the violence seem to feel no remorse, because the devil has told them they only “gave the other person their due.” The thing is, the devil is a liar, and he only wants to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) We need to be like Jesus, who forgave incredible, and very real, wrongs done to Him, even as He hung on the cross. (Luke 23:34) If we will do that, we will experience unimaginable blessings.

I am constantly dealing with the issue of forgiveness because it is such a thorny one in Japanese culture. The Japanese have glorified revenge in such stories as The 47 Samurai. (The Japanese title for that is The Storehouse of Faithful Hearts.) The language itself clouds the meaning of forgiveness, because the word is a homophone for one that means permission. The average Japanese doesn’t even know the character that means “forgiveness,” and instead uses the one that means “permission” for everything. I teach on the issue at every opportunity and have written a brief tract on the subject, but the issue is far deeper than intellectual understanding, and the truth takes time to sink in. For that matter, people in other cultures get deceived on this issue as well! I am never to give up, but keep speaking the truth in love, as well as demonstrating it in my daily life, so that the Holy Spirit may use that truth to set people free.

Father, You know what bondage this issue brings to the Japanese. I ask You to pour Your Spirit out on this nation so that people may understand their own sin and Your forgiveness that is available to them, and so choose to forgive those around them, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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