Hope is the belief in the goodness of God despite disappointments. How we handle disappointment will determine the quality of our life, health of our heart, and can lead us to the abundant life that God has for us.
Alright. Hey, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. We are so glad that you’re here with us today. And whatever campus or location you maybe at right now, can we just welcome each other together for a moment. We are so glad that you’re here with us today. And we’re just going to jump right in because we’re starting a new series today called, “Disappointed.” And for the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about finding hope in the midst of life. And I think this is really important series for us because for the past maybe six months or so on the white board in my office, I’ve had the word disappointed with a question mark written next to it. Because my sense is, is that a lot of our hearts are carrying around some level of disappointment. You may be conscious of it, you maybe unconscious of it. It might be you’re disappointed in your circumstances. Maybe you’re disappointed in a situation. Maybe you’re disappointed in people. Maybe you’re disappointed in a job, or finances, you’re health. Maybe you’re disappointed in life. Maybe you’re even disappointed in God.
You see, there’re three types of people sitting in the room today. There’re those of us that have been disappointed, those of us that are disappointed, and those of us that will be disappointed in the future. So pretty much, it applies to all of us is what I’m trying to say. That’s why in John 16, Jesus says, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart for I have overcome the world.” In other words, he says, disappointment will come, but I will always be your hope. And so, the question then is, what is disappointment and where does it come from? Well, if you just break the word down, disappoint, disappoint. It literally means to miss an appointment. To miss an appointment is you set an appointment in some way, shape or how that thing didn’t come to pass. So disappointment is unmet expectation, unfulfilled desire. Something didn’t worked out the way you thought it was going to be. And so, most disappointment comes from simply unmet expectations, like this is your expectation, this is what happens and this is your level of disappointment. This is what you expect your spouse is going to do, this is what your spouse does, this is your level of disappointment, or like this is what you expect your job is going to be like, and this what your job is really like.
And so, this is the level of disappointment. You set an appointment and it doesn’t take place. This is the gap of disappointment, right? Disappointment can also come from a lack of control when you feel like you can’t change something or make it happen, and it also comes from consequences of sin. Sin will always destroy the things that we love. And what’s interesting about disappointment is the spectrum of disappointment you can have. Like, you can be disappointed in a meal you had. You can you disappointed you had to wait in traffic or you missed your flight. You can be disappointed that it was cold this morning. Like just this week, one of my kids was disappointed that the tooth fairy didn’t come. And I was told he even had two business days to make it happen. So what’s up with that kind of thing?
So you can be disappointed with that. You can be disappointed with some more serious stuff, like something someone says to you or something somebody did to you. And then, there’s the real stuff. Like, you can be disappointed that your spouse has left you. You can be disappointed in chronic health issues. You can be disappointed in a super broken circumstance. The truth is, is that disappointment is a part of life. The question is not will disappointment come. The question is, is how will you handle it when it does? And however you handle disappointment will determine the quality of your life and the condition of your heart because a disappointed heart will always live a defeated life. It is literally impossible to walk in victory with a disappointed heart. In fact, I would say to you, unresolved disappointment will lead to an unfulfilled destiny. If we don’t learn how to handle disappointment in a godly way, we’ll never step into the abundant life that God has for us. In fact, what I’m trying to tell you is basically this, Satan wants to steal your destiny, but he doesn’t have the authority to do that.
So what he will do is he will try to disappoint you to the place where you give up on our own destiny. Satan doesn’t have the authority to steal your destiny, but he will try to disappoint you to the place where you give up on your own destiny. Like, he wants to steal your hope. So at Proverbs 13:12 says, “A hope deferred makes the heart sick.” In other words, when things don’t work out the way that we think they should, we lose our hope and when we lose our hope, we end up with a sick heart. And a sick heart doesn’t have the strength to buy faith step into the future that God has for them. And a lot of us have a sick heart and we’re not even aware of it. You see I don’t think we lose our hope from the tsunami effect, like a big crisis thing that happens in our life. A big tsunami takes you. I don’t think we lose our hope from that. That disorients us and we can come back. I think we lose our hope from wave, after wave, after wave, after wave, after wave of disappointment that rolls into our lives.
Like the waves of the ocean, they just keep coming in disappointment one after another and it eventually erodes our hope. Every time you go to the doctors you get the same bad doctor’s report and diagnosis. It’s that marriage problem that hasn’t gone away in more than 20 years. It’s setback after setback after setback. It’s the breakthrough that never comes. It’s the list of unanswered prayers that feel like they keep growing. It’s wave after wave after wave of disappointment that erodes our hope. But what you have to understand is, is that hope never dies, we just lose sight of it. In fact, hope can’t die because hope is a person and His name is Jesus and He already defeated death. So it cannot die. The problem is, is we get focused on the temporary instead of the eternal. We get focused on the physical instead of the spiritual and what I want you to understand is hope is not hoping the weather will be nice today. It’s not hoping that you’re going to win the lottery. Hope is the confident expectation of good. It’s the belief in the goodness of God in the midst of our unmet expectations and pain even when we can’t see it, even when we can’t feel it.
You see hope is not anchored in the things of this world. Hope is anchored in the character of God, that’s why it never fails. Romans 5:8 says, “And hope does not disappoint us.” See if you can catch this with me. Heavenly hope and earthly disappointment cannot co-exist. So it says this hope does not disappoint us. Heavenly hope and earthly disappointment cannot co-exist because they sit on the same place in your heart. So what hope does is it drives out disappointment, but we can allow disappointment to drive out hope. It’s in the same place in your heart. You see, disappointment is meant to be a temporary emotion, not a permanent perspective. Hope is meant to be a permanent perspective not a temporary emotion. And if you look at hope through disappointment, you will always be disappointed. But if you look at disappointment through hope, you will always be filled with hope.
At any place in your life, where you have allowed disappointment to replace hope is a place where you’re believing a lie. It’s a place where you become in agreement with the kingdom of darkness. You see, disappointment becomes defeat the moment you no longer confidently expect good in any area of your life. So here’s the question, where have you lost your hope? Where are you chronically disappointed? Where do your thoughts and your feelings and emotions, where have they come into agreement with the hopelessness of darkness? You see, when we’re disappointed we just want to fix it. We just want it over. We just want it resolved. Maybe we need to change our perspective of the purpose of what disappointment is really all about. You see disappointment is really just a test. It’s a test to expose, and reveal, and heal what’s broken inside of us. We want to fix it, but God wants to free us. And so, what God will do is he wants to free you from any misplaced trust in your life.
God will confront any area in your life where you hope is anchored in anything, but him. And it’s easy to pass a test when you know it’s coming. The question is can you pass the test that you’re not expecting? And so, when we go through this series and we talk about disappointment, here’s I just want to tell you upfront, like the goal for me in the series is not just to make you feel better, it’s to not fix your disappointment. I want us to have a different perspective. I want us to understand that finding hope in the midst of disappointment is your pathway to your destiny. Like if you’re ever going to get from where you are to where God is leading you, you’re going to have to go through some disappointment without losing your hope. That’s why unresolved disappointment will lead to an unfulfilled destiny because if you’re going to get from here to there, you’re going to have to cross through some valleys of disappointment without letting it steal your hope, okay? So you’re with me on that?
I hope that like wets your appetite for the series and all of that is just the setup for the series, okay? What we’re going to do for the next few weeks is we’re going to talk about Joseph. We’re going to take a look at the story of Joseph. Joseph is one of the heroes of the faith. He’s one of the heroes in the bible. Joseph is one of the 12 sons of Jacob. The 12 sons of Jacob are the 12 tribes of Israel, to put in context for you. Joseph was Jacob’s favored son. He had the robe of many colors from his father. He had his father’s favor, his father’s affection. And Joseph had this amazing dream from God about his destiny that he — God was going to raise him up. He was going to be this amazing leader to do amazing things. And just like Joseph had a dream and a destiny from God, you have a dream and a destiny from God. Ephesians 3:20, “God wants to do immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine. God’s dream and God’s destiny for you is so much bigger than you’ve ever even thought or begin to imagine.” But Joseph’s brothers hated Joseph. And so, one day, they ripped off his robe, they throw him in his pit. They tell his father he was killed by ferocious animals. And sell him to slave traders who take him to Egypt. Joseph gets to Egypt.
He starts serving a guy named Potiphar as a slave. And one day, Potiphar’s wife, makes a pass at Joseph, but she spins the story and says, Joseph made a pass at her. So he winds up in prison. While in prison, he serves the prison warden. He tries to help out some other people and he tells these guys, I’ll help you out, but when you get out, will you please remember me because I didn’t do anything wrong. They get out of jail and they don’t remember him. Okay. I’m trying to give you like 15 chapters of the bible in about 30 seconds. Thirteen years later, Joseph has the opportunity to be with pharaoh. He interprets pharaoh’s dream. Pharaoh makes Joseph the number two ruler overall of Egypt. God gives Joseph wisdom on what to do. A big famine is coming. He stores up all this grain, has an abundance ultimately allowing him to save his father, and his entire family, brings them to Egypt which ultimately becomes the Israelites. When they need to leave Egypt 400 years later with Moses in the fullness of his dream and his destiny comes to pass because Joseph never lost hope in the midst of disappointment. The story of Joseph is wave after wave after wave after wave of disappointment, and yet he refused to allow what was happening around him and to him to determine the hope within him. That’s life guys.
That’s life with Jesus. And that’s the journey that we’re invited to go on. You see every disappointment wasn’t a setback. It was actually a step towards his destiny. It was an invitation to find hope in God. And there was a whole lot of disappointments that Joseph had to go through, each one being a test to get him from where he was to where God was leading him. And the first test he had to pass, the first test we are going to have to pass is disappointment with people. You see in Genesis 37, really the beginning of the story of Joseph, his brother say, “Here comes that dreamer”, they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these pits and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” They hated Joseph and they wanted to kill his dream. There are people in your life who want to kill your dream.
So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the richly ornamented robe he was wearing, they took him, they threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, there was no water in it. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the pit and sold him for 20 shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him Egypt as a slave. Okay. I’m just saying, you think you got mean brothers. Joseph was thrown into a pit and sold into slavery, disappointment with people. And like Joseph, you’re going to be disappointed by people. Like Joseph, people are going to throw you into a pit. No, not a physical pit unless someone is building a giant hole in your backyard. I’m talking about people are going to throw you into an emotional pit where their actions or words get you all knotted out. They’ll throw you into a mental pit where you’ll start spinning. They’ll throw you into a relational pit where you feel trapped, alone and in darkness. They’ll throw you into a spiritual pit where you question the goodness of God.
So the question is, is how do you deal with disappointment with people? Like in your life, when someone betrays you, they hurt you, they say something about you, they do something to you, like how do you deal with that pain? Do you get angry? Do you let your words fly? Do you try to get them back? Do you pretend like it didn’t happen? Do you ignore it? Do you walk away? Do you think you deserved it? Like how do you deal with it? Maybe there’s a better way. Maybe there’s a godly way to deal with disappointment with people so we can passed the test and find hope in the midst of that disappointment to get from where we are to where God wants us to be. And so, what I want to do today for the next few minutes that we have together is I just want to talk to your hearts. I don’t want to talk to your mind and give you a bunch of information. I just want my heart to talk to your heart and my heart has got a lot to say and so you open up your heart and find the freedom of disappointment with people by finding hope in Jesus. Are you with me on that?
Okay. Couple of thoughts on how your heart can deal with because it’s your heart that’s got to deal with it, disappointment with people. First thing is this. You got to receive God’s grace for your failures. I now some of you are sitting here and you’re thinking, “Well, did you get that wrong John? Like, don’t you mean like we need to give God’s grace for their failures.” No. You see, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you disappoint people too. Like, I know, I know that sounds like crazy, but the truth is you throw people in a pit too. You see, we read the story of Joseph and instantly, we resonate with Joseph. We’re like, “Oh, man Joe, I totally know what that’s like, bro. People are so difficult to be around. They disappoint me all the time.” Okay. Let me break something to you. You are more like the brothers than you are like Joseph in the story.
We resonate with the wrong guy. We do things and say things and act in ways that throws other people in the pit. And not only do we throw them in the pit, we threw Jesus in the pit. The grave, the worst pit of all. So you have to start by receiving God’s grace for your failures. Because when you acknowledge, you hurt other people, all of a sudden you’re not so worried about how they hurt you. Like in Matthews 7 Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye when all of the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” In other words, Jesus says, “Why are you so worried about how they disappoint you? You should be worried about how you disappoint them.” Because you got a plank in your eye and you’re worried about the speck in their eye. Let’s deal with how you disappoint them and then, we can go ahead and take care of how they disappoint you. I mean, listen, my whole life was like being in meetings with people. It feels like sometime it’s like all I do is sit with people and you try to work through all their stuff and I can’t tell you how many meetings I meet with people. Almost no one ever comes into the meeting and says, “Yeah, I’m here to just confess that I disappointed them.”
It’s always, “They disappointed me.” And we all go crazy about that. Okay. So here’s my question. Who is disappointed by you right now? Notice, I didn’t ask you the question, who are you disappointed in? Who is disappointed by you right now? When was the last time you apologized to someone for something like that? Can you take ownership of that? You see, maybe if we try to help people out of the pit that we threw them in, we wouldn’t be so worried about our own pit. That makes sense to you?
You’re like, “I don’t like this message anymore.” I know. It will get better, but we got to start here, okay? You got to acknowledge that you throw people into the pit and you got to start there by receiving God’s grace. Second thing is you got to receive God’s grace for your heart. One of the main reasons that we get disappointed in life is because we have unhealthy expectations. We try to get from people what we’re supposed to get from God.
John 3:27 says, “A man can only receive what has been given to him from heaven.” If you try to demand from people what you’re supposed to receive from heaven, you will always be disappointed in people. Only God can give you significance. Only God can give you security, identity. Only God can give you worth, and beauty, and value, and joy, and peace, and fill your heart with love. You try to get any of that from people, you will always be disappointed. I mean, just look at Jesus, what made Jesus so amazing is He really wasn’t all that disappointed with people because He wasn’t trying to get from them what He was supposed to receive from the father. I mean, just imagine for a moment, if Jesus tried to get from people what he was supposed to receive from heaven, He would be in a fetal position disappointed 24 hours a day crying, why, but he didn’t. But that’s what we do, isn’t it? So are we chronically disappointed even with the good people that really do love us in our lives?
I mean here is a question for you. Who are you not disappointed in? Like just think about the track record of your life. Like, who have you not been disappointed in? If you have been disappointed in every coach, every boss, every friend, every family member, every spouse, every church you’ve ever been a part of, you might be the common denominator. I don’t know if I should smile or whatever at that point. I just want you think about it, you know what I’m saying? Maybe you’re trying to get from them what they can’t give you. And if you say I’m never disappointed by people, I would challenge you, maybe you’re overprotecting your heart because if disappointment can’t get in then neither can the fullness of hope because they sit in the same place in your heart. See a lot of our disappointment is just self-induced. A hollow relationship with God will lead to a hurting relationship with people. So where are you trying to demand things from people that you’re supposed to receive from heaven? You will always be disappointed in that area.
And then, you got to receive God’s grace for your relationships. See, what’s interesting about the story of Joseph, I think Joseph’s brothers get a bad rep. I mean, they are not the greatest guys, but they got their own pain too. They’re disappointed. They’re hurt. They’re broken. Listen, Genesis 37, “Now Israel, Jacob the father loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age, and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Joseph has everything they want. Their father’s love, their father’s affection, their father’s favor, their father’s gifts, a dream and a destiny from God, so they’re disappointed. They are hurt. They are in their own pit and their disappointment leads to Joseph’s disappointment. Know that doesn’t make it okay, but it certainly gives you more grace. See, everybody in your life has a story back here you know nothing about. They’ve got pain.
They’ve got brokenness. Hurting people hurt people. People in a pit pull other people into the pit because they don’t want to be alone in the pit. And when you become aware of that, all of a sudden you have a whole lot more grace for how people engage with you. Like 1 Corinthians 13, sometimes I’ll just quote this to myself when I’m disappointed or frustrated by people. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It’s not rude, it’s not self-seeking, it’s not easily angered, it keeps going on.” And sometimes I’ll just sit there and say, love is patient, love is kind. Love wouldn’t have to be patient or kind if people weren’t hurting. If people weren’t in their own pit. So maybe if we loved other people the way we want them to love us, maybe if we would give the grace, we want them to give us, we wouldn’t be so disappointed. And if you break relationship every time someone disappoints you, you probably won’t be in relationship very long with anyone. We need to receive God’s grace, that’s where it starts. Are you with me on that?
Second thing is this. You got to share your heart with God. I mean, just think about the story. Joseph gets thrown into a pit, sold to slave traders and no one speaks his language. He’s sold to a group of people that doesn’t speak his language. So can you just imagine what that would have been like Joseph is just like having a day, he’s got his — the favor of his father, he’s walking along and his brothers grabbed him, ripped off his robe, throw him in a pit and sell him to a group of people who he cannot communicate to. Don’t you know that when Joseph like came to you, he just like wanted to tell you someone, “Do you know what just happened to me today? I was out for a walk. The sun was shining, my brothers let”, — and no one — they just look at Joseph like, “We don’t understand. We can’t communicate.” Okay. But that’s how it feels sometimes, isn’t it? Like you’re speaking a foreign language to people, like no one gets it. So what do you do? You got to talk to God. Genesis 39 says, “The Lord was with Joseph.” The only person Joseph had was God.
And when God is all you have, you discovered that God is all you need. The Lord was with Joseph and he’s with you. And the whole point of the pit is an invitation to draw you closer to God. I mean, Jonah 2 says, “From inside the fish”, Jonah gets thrown out over the boat and the fish gets him, let’s all agree, that’s a smelly pit. From inside the smelly pit, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. And she said, “In my distress, I called to the Lord and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” In other words, the entire purpose of the pit is to draw you closer to God. It’s an invitation for you to cry out to him. In fact, if you get out of the pit without talking to God about being in the pit, you missed the point of the pit. If you ended up in a pit, and you could put a ladder against the wall, and climb your little self out, and you get out of it on your own you missed the entire point, you didn’t pass the test. The point is to talk to him.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and save those who are crushed.” Psalm 27:10, “Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” If someone is forsaken you, He is receiving you. Psalm 22:5, “Every time they cried out to you in despair, you are faithful to deliver them and you did not disappoint them.” If you are in relational pain, if you are in a pit, don’t pretend it’s okay, don’t ignore it, don’t move on, don’t be strong, cry out to God. That’s the whole point. I mean, some of you who are here and you’re in a deep, deep relational pit and it’s dark, and it’s lonely. I am so sorry. But Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit is our comforter and our counselor, which means, he gets in the pit with us. And he is there not only to heal our hearts, he’s there to guide our steps. You see, I’m convinced we over process with people and under processed with God.
When we end up in a pit, someone disappoints us, man, we just — we over process. We go right to that person and just like, “Brah.” Like, “Brah, this is what you did.” Don’t pretend like I’m the only one. Their response is ones like that, okay? And we don’t say much with God and all the stuff, okay. Maybe we need to spend more time talking to God and less time with people. Because when someone disappoints you and you go right to them and you say it, what ends up happens? You make it worse. But if you go right to God and you talk to him, He gives you a way out. When you talk to God, all of a sudden, you get focused on God and you start seeing what’s right with him instead of what’s wrong with them. Got to share your heart with God, okay? This brings me to the third thing, and it’s this. If you want to get out of the relational pit, you’re going to have to choose to forgive and start to heal. Some of you are like, “I knew you were going to go there.” Of course, I was going to go there. And you say, “Why?” Because unforgiveness steals hope.
Unforgiveness steals hope maybe more than anything else. Why? Well, if hope and disappointment sit on the same place in your heart, when you’re holding on to unforgiveness, what are you thinking about? You’re thinking about all the unmet expectations. And the more you think about the unmet expectations, the more you think about the disappointment. That disappointment drives the hope right out of your heart. And disappointment attracts more disappointment. And unmet expectations attract more unmet expectations. And so, you will never have a heart of hope with a heart of unforgiveness. And what’s amazing to me is what Joseph does. You got to fast forward the story like 20 years. Joseph is the number two in all of Egypt. Big famine comes. God has given him wisdom. Egypt has all the bread of the world. His brothers come to buy Egypt. Joseph realizes them, they reconcile. It brings his father back, saves everybody and then Joseph’s father dies. And Joseph’s brothers are scared to death that Joseph is now going to kill them. Twenty years later, Genesis 50:15.
When Joseph’s brother 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?” I would say, that’s a fair question, would you agree? Here’s my question. Who’s wondering if you’re going to pay them back? Who in your life is concerned or worried wondering that you might get them back? So they sent word to Joseph saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died. This is what you are to say to Joseph. I ask you to forgive your brothers, the sins and 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. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
“So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” He reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Oh my goodness. This is not the beginning of Joseph’s forgiveness healing journey, this is the end of it. See, he’s had 20 years to work through, that’s why in this moment, he’s able to respond to them in such a healthy way. And Joseph shows us the keys of what it really looks like to forgive from the heart so we can move passed the pit of disappointment with people. So I want to encourage you. I’m going to go through this fast. I want to encourage you to just jot these down because these are really handles or steps for you to be able to take to fully process out disappointment with people. This is what we learned from Joseph. First thing is this. It’s just forgiveness is supernatural. Forgiveness is supernatural. I mean, we can all agree that forgiving your brothers who threw you into a pit and sold you as his slave like that’s supernatural.
There is nothing worldly or normal about the entire story we just read there in Genesis Chapter 50. It’s supernatural and you know what else? When you forgive the people in your life, that’s supernatural too. All forgiveness starts with the heart of the father and flows through us into the world around us. So every time you forgive somebody, you literally just brought heaven to earth, you say, “How?” Because in heaven, there’s no bitterness, there’s no rage, there’s no anger and there’s no offense. There’s forgiveness. So you’re bringing heaven to earth, you’re breaking the power of the kingdom of darkness. You’re coming out of alignment with the kingdom of darkness. You’re literally releasing the miraculous. Forgiveness is a miracle. It’s literally the manifestation of the power and the goodness of God into the world around us. Forgiveness is a sign and a wonder. We say we want to see signs and wonders. Man, forgive people. It’s a sign and a wonder. It points the way to Jesus and leaves us in all of him. You want to see the supernatural? Forgive.
Because it’s supernatural in every way, shape and form. Second thing is this. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. I think we can all agree. I don’t think Joseph felt like forgiving his brothers. I mean, we know that Egyptians could just do some amazing things. I bet you he felt like building the biggest pit in the world and throwing his brothers in there and saying, “How do you like it?” But he made a choice to forgive. You see you won’t feel like forgiving the people who throw you in a pit. Your flesh in fact will lead you to this place where you feel like getting even, but your spirit will lead you to choose to forgive. And if you’re waiting ’till you feel like forgiving, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Sometimes you just have to say, I don’t feel like it, but I’m going to choose it because I know what God is asking me to do even though I don’t understand it or like it, I’m going to do it because His ways always lead to freedom. Third thing is this, forgiveness doesn’t require an apology. What’s fascinating to me is Joseph’s brothers never apologize. Twenty years later, and they still cannot say, “I’m sorry.”
Are you kidding? You say no. Yeah, they just apologized. No they didn’t, they manipulated the situation. The father dies and they know, they’re like, “Oh my goodness, Joe is going to get us. So we got to figure this out. Okay. Listen, Joe loved dad and dad loved Joe. So let’s say this, let’s say on dad’s dying breath that he told Joe he had to forgive us.” That was his — that’s the father’s dying wish. And so, they go, and they try to manipulate the whole situation because they’re afraid. They never apologized to Joseph and yet he chooses to forgive them anyways. Here’s what I’m trying to tell you. The people you all have to forgive the most will apologize to you the least. The people in your life that can steal your destiny by keeping you in a relational pit, if you let them, they’re going to be the least likely to apologize to you. And so, you’re going to have to figure out how to work it out with the Lord, to forgive and release even though they probably will never say, “I’m sorry.”
They hurt you back then, don’t let them authority over you now. And if you’re waiting to get an apology, you’ll be waiting even longer than waiting to feel like it. It’s not going to happen, but you don’t need one. You need the grace of Jesus. The fourth thing is, forgiveness acknowledges what’s been taken. This is really important and see if you can get this. When Joseph said, you intended to harm me, he knew exactly what they took from him. He’s had 20 years to talk about it. He had to identify what they took from him and you know what they took from Joseph? They took his coat, they took his father and they took his life. Twenty years, he’s thought about. He’s identified it, he’s acknowledged it and he has chosen to release it. He’s chosen to release what they took from him and that’s why he’s able to fully forgive them. You see when someone sins against you, what they do, they actually steal something from you.
They take something from you. There’s a debt that’s owed that’s why it’s called forgiveness because you’re cancelling a debt. You’re cancelling a payment. You’re cancelling something that’s been owed. Here’s my question, how can you cancel a debt if you’re not sure what’s actually owed? You got to identify it. Here’s an analogy for you. Let’s say one day, I walked into your house and your wallet was sitting on the table. And when you weren’t looking, I grabbed your wallet and I opened it up and you had a $100 bill. And I took your $100 bill, put the wallet back down, put them in my pocket, left. Went and spend the $100. Next day I felt bad about it, so I came in and I said, “Hey man, yesterday, your wallet was sitting there. I don’t know. I took it. I took the $100 bill on there. I spent it, it’s gone. I’m really sorry.” You grabbed your wallet. You look at it, sure enough the $100 bill is gone. You think about it for a moment, you look at me and say, “Okay. Well, we’re friends so I’m going to choose to forgive it. I’ll release it. I’ll let it go.” By releasing it is the forgiveness. If you make me pay you back, that’s called restitution. Forgiveness is I forgive you, I let it go.
Well, from then on out, any time you grabbed your wallet and you open it up, and you see that the $100 bill is missing you’re not going to have an emotional response to it. You’re not going to have anything attached to that wallet because you knew what I took from you. You thought about it and you are able to release it and let it go, so you’re free. Okay. Now, let’s say same scenario happens. I come in one day, your wallet sitting on the thing. I pick it up, sure enough, $100 bill. I take it out, but this time, I also write down your credit card number. And I write it down, but I leave your credit card in there and I leave it on the table. And I go out and I spend the $100 and then I take your credit card number and I charged more than a thousand dollars’ worth of stuff. And the next day I feel bad about it, I come and say, “Hey man, yesterday your wallet was sitting there and there was a $100 bill and then I took it. I took the $100 and I went out and I spend it. I’m really sorry.” You grabbed your wallet, sure enough $100 bill is gone, credit card still sitting there, so you’re not thinking about that? You say, “Okay, you took the $100, we’re friends that’s okay, like no problem. Have you fully forgiven me yet?” You see what’s going to happen is, you’re going to go to the store and you’re going to pull out your credit card and when you swiped it, and it’s declined because it’s overcharged.
All of a sudden, all of these emotions are going to come welling up with inside of you. When you get your bill and realized that I not only took the $100 bill, but that I used your credit card and charged up a bunch of stuff, all of a sudden, all of this emotion is going to flood you. All this anger, all this bondage, all of this rage. Every time you reach for your wallet you’re going to be reminded in the least likely, in the least convenient moments in time, all of this stuff is going to flood back into your life because you never identified and acknowledged what it is that I took from you and released and cancelled that thing. Does that make sense to you?
So when we sit in church and we say forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive. And we say, yeah, yeah, I forgave. And then all of a sudden, that person’s name comes in front of you, something happens. You see something on Facebook, all of this emotion comes back up and you, what is it? You cancelled the $100 debt, but you still didn’t identify and cancel all the other things that have been taken away from you. You’ve actually with the Holy Spirit, God identified what was taken. Maybe you’re here and you’ve got to identify it’s your spouse that left you and you have to identify you took my dream of growing old together. Maybe for some of you, you’re sitting here and someone has just spoke harshly to you for years and you have to identify you stole my confidence. Maybe someone did something to you and took your trust and you have to identify that. Maybe you invested so much into them and they betrayed you and you say, I gave you all this time, I don’t know. You have to actually identify it and acknowledge it to cancel it. Otherwise every time something comes around, it would trigger something inside of you. You reach for your wallet and bam, it just takes over. Does that make sense to you?
That’s why when we say I forgave that person, but we never feel like we’re free from that person because we didn’t identify it. We can’t cancel a debt we don’t know what’s owed. So just the fifth thing, which is forgiveness cancels the debt and credits the account. If Joseph would have just let them live, that would have been cancelling the debt, that would have been amazing, but he also says in that passage that I will provide for you and your children for the rest of your life. That’s genuine forgiveness from the heart. It’s cancelling the debt and crediting the account. When God set the Israelites free from Egypt, he cancelled their slavery and he gave them all the gold of Egypt. When Peter failed Jesus, Jesus forgave him and gave him a net full of fish. When Jesus died on the cross, he forgave you of your sins and he gave you the spirit of grace. Cancelling the debt removes the disappointment from your heart, crediting the account fills your heart with hope. This is why we get stuck. We say, “I cancel the debt, I forgave them I move on.” But your heart still doesn’t have hope. Your heart will never have hope until you credit the account, you say, “What does that mean?” I don’t know. It means bless them in some way, serve them. If it’s someone way from your past from — you just say a prayer for them. Say, “Jesus, as hard as this is, I ask that you credit that account and show your favor and kindness in their life.” You’ll be amazed at how hope starts to fill you back up as that disappointment is driven away. Which brings me to the last one and it’s this. Forgiveness trusts God with the future. In Genesis 15:19 and 20, Joseph says, “Am I in the place of God?”
Because you intended to harm me, God intended it for good. In other words, Joseph says, I’m going to leave all justice and all of my future in God’s hands. I’m going to refuse to allow you to steal my hope. Yes, my past was painful, but with God, my future has always been hopeful. Forgiveness allows the hope of Jesus to displace the disappointment of people. And here’s what so amazing, that whole thing is a prophetic picture of Jesus. Joseph is a picture of Christ. Just think about it, forgiveness is supernatural, everything about the death burial and resurrection of Jesus was supernatural. Forgiveness is a choice, it’s a choice that Jesus made to step out of heaven, come to this earth, take on flesh and go to the cross. Forgiveness doesn’t require an apology. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners long before we ever repented or said we were sorry. Forgiveness acknowledges what’s been taken. Jesus acknowledged that we took from him His robe of righteousness, the relationship with His father in His very life and yet, He gave that to us and released it.
Forgiveness cancels the debt and credits the account. He forgave our sins and gave us the spirit of grace, all of the riches of the heavenly resources that belonged to Him and forgiveness, trust God with the future. Jesus says, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do and into your hands, I commit my spirit.” It’s Jesus. That should make you a whole lot more excited than that, but that’s okay. Because listen, Genesis 50, those verses that I just read to you, that is not the story of Joseph and his brothers. That is a picture. Joseph is a type of Christ and we are the type of brothers. That is a picture of our relationship with Jesus. We threw Jesus in a pit and we were terrified. We were terrified of the things that we did how God was going to get us. So we hit our knees and we say, “We are your slaves.” And what does Jesus do? He reaches down and He says, “You’re not my slaves. You’re my brothers.” And He says, “Don’t be afraid.” Cancels our debt, credits our account, brings us into the kingdom that he rules.
Speaks kindly to us, gives us the bread of life and constantly reassures us that He is not disappointed in us and fills us with hope. Genesis 50, Joseph and his brothers is Jesus and you. So read that over and over and over again because focusing on that will give you the strength to deal with the way that people have disappointed you. The only way out of your pit is the way Jesus got out of his pit. Forgiveness. You can’t change them, but man, you can change you and yes, they threw you in a pit, but they don’t have the authority to keep you in a pit. That’s what Jesus did for you. You see, like Joseph you’re going to have to deal with some disappointment with people. And if you don’t figure out how to deal with that disappointment with people you’ll never get to your destiny.
You say, “Yeah, I can just cut people out of my life.” No. Joseph’s destiny was not to rule Egypt. Joseph’s destiny was to serve, love and save people. So if he didn’t learn how to deal with disappointment with people, he couldn’t have done his destiny. Your destiny is to not do with thing. Not the special thing that you’ve been thinking about, your destiny is to serve, and love, and save people. So if you don’t figure out how to deal with disappointment with people, you’re already cashing out on your own destiny. So how do I do that? Focus on what Jesus did for you. We’re the brothers, we’re not Joseph. Jesus is Joseph. And Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. I know it’s painful. In no way is it easy. It might have taken Joseph every bit of those 20 years to work through it and so you might say, “Man, I can’t fully let go.” It’s okay if you’re working on it. It’s okay if you’re letting Him fill you. If you’re genuinely saying, “Jesus, here’s where I’m at, I need your help.” He will help you. Jesus doesn’t demand things from you. He wants to give everything to you. And you know you’re working through disappointment with people when you fully engage the relationships in your life today with a whole heart. Not a protected heart, not a at a distance heart, because this is saying, I’m letting yesterday’s disappointment become today’s expectations. That’s not free and that’s not a hard hope.
Hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God despite the disappointment of people yesterday. Okay. So you close your eyes, here — I know that’s a lot. I know that’s a lot. And here’s what the message like today does, is it really just kind of opens up your heart. And there’s not much we can do in a 30-second prayer to resolve it all and I don’t think that’s God’s intent anyways. I think God’s intent is for us to now walk with the Holy Spirit this week and work through some of the stuff. To let him point out some areas in our lives where we’re throwing other people in the pit and deal with it. To let him point out the places where we have unhealthy expectations of the people around us, even the good people that love us and we love them, but we’re finding ourselves disappointed because we’re trying to get from them what we’re supposed to get from Jesus and maybe this week, he’s inviting you to share your heart. You’ve never been honest of what’s hurt you and where it’s been and then to work through those steps of forgiveness. Sitting down for five minutes and saying, okay, I chose, I know they didn’t apologize, all that stuff, I hear you. That doesn’t set you free, but it starts moving you in the direction of freedom because the more you focus on it, that’s what Jesus did for you, supernaturally, that’s what you’ll have the grace to do for them so you can be free. So Holy Spirit, would you come and be the great comforter and counselor of our lives.
Comfort our pain. Heal our hearts and give us wisdom on how to move forward. You have a great dream and a great destiny for every one of us. So today Jesus, we acknowledge that you went into the pit to get us out of the pit so we don’t have to live in the pit. So we refuse to allow anyone else to keep us in the pit. We choose to let you pull us out today. We love you Jesus. Thank you that you are the God of hope. Amen.