In this blog series, we are going to cover the topic of forgiveness. During this series, I will be sharing with you some of my story and how I came to understand the importance of forgiving people, and more importantly, the effects of not forgiving people.
This blog will have 15 parts to it and it will take us on the long road, but by the end of it, I promise that forgiveness will not seem like such a scary word. I invite you along for the journey.
So what in the world does forgiveness have to do with getting rid of frogs? To answer that question, we need to go back to the book of Exodus to find out.
In Exodus 8, Moses demanded that Pharaoh let his people go from their slavery, but Pharaoh refused. So God sent plagues, one after another. One of the plagues sent by God was frogs. Frogs were everywhere: in the rivers, in people’s houses, in their beds, even frogs in the dough people used to make bread.
Let’s read through the beginning of Exodus 8 so we can see where the frogs come into play.
Exodus 8 (NIV)
8 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2 If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. 3 The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs.4 The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.’”
5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”
6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. 7 But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”
10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.
Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”
12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
Pay special attention to the area highlighted in the reading. When Pharaoh finally said, “I get it,” and agreed to release the Israelites, Moses asked him, “When would you like to be rid of the frogs?” Pharaoh’s answer is a very strange one indeed. Pharaoh answered, “Tomorrow.” Now, why in the world would anyone want to spend even a single more night with these horrible frogs? Pharaoh could have chosen to have the frogs removed immediately, but instead choose to wait until the next day. Pharaoh had clearly sinned. He was defying the direct wishes of God, which was to let God’s chosen people go. Pharaoh had an opportunity to repent of his sin to God, through Moses, and have these horrible frogs removed immediately, but instead chose to wait until the next day. Why?
Like the plague of frogs making the Egyptians miserable, there can be things in our own lives like self-pity, anger, bitterness, and depression that we carry around with us everywhere we go, making us miserable. Unforgiveness can lead to all these feelings.
We have at our disposal, through the blood of Christ, immediate relief from these frogs we have in our own lives, yet many of us choose to instead live with our frogs instead of letting God get rid of them for us. It seems like a really crazy thing to do, and it is, but so many of us do just that.
I know that I have spent a great majority of my life carrying around frogs. I could have released them long before I did, but I didn’t. The funny part is that at the time, I did not even realize I was carrying those frogs around. It would appear that they were hiding in one of my backpacks or something.