CONSEQUENCES OF UNFORGIVENESS
Genesis 49:5-7 – “Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honour be united to their assembly; for in their anger, they slew a man, and in their self-will, they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
And all who went out of the gate of his city heeded Hamor and Shechem his son; every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. They took their sheep, their oxen, and their donkeys, what was in the city and what was in the field, and all their wealth. All their little ones and their wives they took captive; and they plundered even all that was in the houses. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I.” But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?”
The above verse in Genesis 34 is an excerpt from an event that took place between Dinah, Jacob’s daughters, Schechem the son of Hamon the Hivite and the reaction of Simeon and Levi to the event. Schechem lusted after Dinah so much so the he raped her and she became defiled. Simeon and Levi, brothers of Dinah, were the sons of Jacob. This incident displeased Jacob and his sons and Simeon and Levi were very furious.
However, Schechem told his father that he wanted to marry Dinah and after much consultation, Jacob and his family agreed to the marriage of Dinah to Schechem subject to one condition: all the men in the clan of Schechem and Hamon have to be circumcised. They agreed to the proposal unknown to them that it was a trap set up by Simeon and Levi to take revenge on them for the action of Schechem on Dinah. After the men were circumcised and were very sore, Simeon and Levi descended on them and killed their entire clan and took all their belongings. This is a classic story of unforgiveness.
In Genesis 49:5-7, when Jacob was blessing his children, Simeon and Levi missed out on their father’s blessing because of their unforgiveness. So much so that when the promised land was being divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Simeon and Levi were the only two tribes without their own inheritance and land allocation. The tribe of Simeon was accommodated on lands belonging to the tribe of Judah. And the Tribe of Levi was supported by the other tribes. I have narrated this story to let you know that unforgivensss is a robber. The highlight of the story of Simeon and Levi in the Bible is their unforgiveness and the mass murder they committed. When you allow unforgiveness to fester, it breeds evil actions and consequently mass destruction.
From the story of unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35, we saw that unforgiveness lost him favour with his master and fellow servants: it sent his family to unnecessary slavery and lost him freedom and goodwill. Unforgiveness is a reducer and it gives the devil freedom of expression in people’s life. So, resist it and let go of anything you have against anyone and that includes you.
I have observed that some Christians have not received total forgiveness that is on offer from God and as a result, they cannot give total forgiveness. They feel they don’t deserve forgiveness. The good news is, nobody merits forgiveness without Christ and that is the joy of the grace of God. So, start by receiving total forgiveness and then you will be in the position to give total forgiveness.
For further Study
Personal declaration for the day
As I have freely received forgiveness, so I will freely give forgiveness.
Questions for you to reflect on
- Have you asked for and received total forgiveness for your sins?
- Are you willing to give total forgiveness unconditionally?