Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, February 13, 2021

Shabbat Shalom,

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sat 13-Feb-2021 1st of Adar, 5781 Rosh Chodesh Adar Day 2 Parashat Mishpatim Shabbat Shekalim

Ex 30:11-16 Nu 28:9-15 2 Ki 12:1-17 Mt 17:24-27

Be Kind To Yourself by David Harwood

In our last post we noted some attitudes we may strengthen to replace self-directed rotten attitudes. Paul exhorted the Ephesians to be kind and compassionate towards each other. As we’ve uncovered, we are called to be kind and compassionate in the way we speak to ourselves, and about ourselves. 

As in all fallen, sinful behavior patterns, we are called to stop it, turn around, and, instead, start doing something else; in other words, repent. Here are the two verses we were visiting.

31 All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness. 32 Become kind toward one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as also God in [the Messiah] has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31–32 Lexham English Bible)

Today we’re moving on to the last attribute in this verse. It is translated, forgiving. I think there is an attitude beneath the surface that might prove helpful. 

Let’s concentrate upon maintaining a forgiving attitude towards ourselves.

Become … Forgiving 

Of course, we should forgive each other. We’ve been commanded to do so. I find it interesting that the only other time, in Ephesians, we find the word forgiveness (removal in the Tree of Life Version) is in Ephesians 1:7. There we find the word aphiēmi. 

In Him we have redemption through His blood—the removal (aphiēmi) of trespasses—in keeping with the richness of His grace (Ephesians 1:7 TLV) 

Aphiēmi is the word commonly used in the Apostolic Writings to communicate forgiveness. It can be used judicially without any emotional content. However, what we discover in Ephesians 4:32 is a completely different word. These two words are unrelated. In Ephesians 4 a word is used which indicates that Paul is calling for the believers to show goodwill towards each other

The Greek, charizomai, is seldom used in the Apostolic Writings. In this verse it is used twice. It has the word charis in its root. Charis means favor (חֵן – ḥēn; the Hebrew connotes bowls of mercy) and is usually translated in the Apostolic Writings as grace. Paul was telling the Ephesians to be favorably (graciously) disposed towards one another because God was manifestly favorable towards them in Yeshua. I wouldn’t ask you to take my word for this. I’m not a scholar. However, I did find some scholarly backup for this in the English Dictionary of the New Testament (EDNT). There we find this:

… it seems questionable whether Eph 4:32 is speaking of forgiveness … since the context is concerned not with guilt but with kindness and compassion. (EDNT)

It is a display of favor from one person to another.

Gal 3:18 uses the verb. In the sense of a show of favor on the part of the person granting an inheritance (EDNT)

Just to make certain that I’m giving you a complete picture, this word is used to convey forgiveness in Luke 7. The Messiah said, 

When neither could repay him, he canceled (charizomai) both debts. So which of them will love him more?” 

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled (charizomai).” (Luke 7:42–43a TLV) 

This is found within the context of a controversy Yeshua caused when He forgave a penitent, heartbroken woman of her sins. Later in the chapter, describing the same interaction, we find the word aphiēmi four times. This is parallel to charizomai employed earlier.

For this reason I tell you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven (aphiēmi) —for she loved much. But the one who is forgiven (aphiēmi) little, loves little. 48 He then said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven (aphiēmi).” 49 But those who were reclining at table with Him began to say to one another, “Who is this, who even forgives (aphiēmi) sins?” (Luke 7:47–49 TLV)

We are called to be favorably disposed towards one another to the degree that we forgive those who trespass against us. 

If that is so, it is not a big leap to realize that we are called to forgive ourselves, too. We are to be deliberately and favorably disposed towards ourselves in our self-talk. We need God’s help for this, and so we echo David’s prayer:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:15 TLV) 

The content of your inner-narrative needs to have this as a goal. Because you believe that it pleases God, you are to encourage yourself. Let’s briefly review these helpful descriptions of an inner-narrative that gives God’s presence pleasure. 

Your inner demeanor is to be deliberately kind, helpful, compassionate, and favorable towards yourself. 

Let’s reinforce this.

Your soul exists in the manifest presence of the King. In His presence, one thing that needs to be rejected is self-directed resentment, or anger 

I believe that many people have unresolved anger towards themselves because of things they’ve done, mistakes they’ve made, and things left undone. We should all seek to give God’s presence pleasure by resolving these matters.

To help us do this, let’s take a look at the history of Joseph and his admonition to his brothers.


Briefly, Joseph had ten older brothers who hated him. They sold him into slavery and told his father that he was dead. 

Joseph’s life resembled a cycle of exaltation and suffering, ups and downs. 

Going up: He was his father’s favorite child.

Going down: He was rejected, betrayed, thrown in a pit and sold as a slave.

Going up: Joseph became a privileged steward. 

Going down: He was falsely accused and imprisoned.

Going up: He became highly favored in the jail and interpreted prophetic dreams to important people.

Going down: Joseph was forgotten, neglected, and remained in prison.

Going up, up, up, up…: Joseph was exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh.

Then, Joseph got married, saved the region from starvation, consolidated Pharaoh’s authority, and provided for his family of origin. He was reconciled to his brothers, reunited with his father, Jacob, the most favored man on the planet. Jacob gave him a privileged position and a double portion when he blessed Joseph’s two sons.

On the other hand, his brothers were moral and emotional messes. We read in the intervening chapters of some examples of godly character development. However, overall, they lived with guilt, regret, deception, mutual recrimination, and tension (Genesis 42:21–22 TLV).

Earlier in Genesis Joseph’s brother, Judah, was exposed as a hypocrite and was transformed as a result of his humiliation. It is a sordid story with a good outcome (Genesis 38:24–26 TLV). Later in his life (Genesis 43) Judah was prepared to sacrificially offer himself up on behalf of his family. (Genesis 43:8–9 TLV) 

When Joseph was revealed as alive, and their family’s benefactor, these brothers were humiliated, frightened, and angry with themselves. Here is what Joseph said to them:

So now, don’t be grieved and don’t be angry in your own eyes that you sold me here—since it was for preserving life that God sent me here before you. (Genesis 45:5 TLV)

These words, grieved or angry, are the same words that described these men’s murderous rage when they determined to avenge their family’s honor.

Jacob’s sons had already come in from the field when they heard, and the men were deeply grieved and furious, because he had committed a vile deed in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, which ought never to be done. (Genesis 34:7 TLV) 

Being grieved at ourselves because of what we have done, or did not do, is an emotion as old as humanity. Being angry with ourselves accompanies that grief. Joseph’s counsel was that they stop it and adopt a faith-filled perspective.

Joseph was favorably disposed towards his brothers. He forgave each of them. He forgave all of them.

At times we may be grieved or angry with ourselves. When that happens let’s take Joseph’s advice. It will give God’s presence pleasure.

Be favorably disposed towards yourself. Do not allow the sun to go down on any self-directed anger.

Here are the verses we’ve examined:

31 All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness. 32 Become kind toward one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as also God in [the Messiah] has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31–32 Lexham English Bible)

Let’s  turn away from self-directed bitterness, rage, wrath, clamor, and slander. Let us identify and reject all self-sabotaging motivations. As we do, we continue to construct a dwelling place for God in our souls that both blesses Him and opens us up to knowing Him like He wants to be known.

Stop. Turn. Go in the other direction.


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 13 Do not cast me from Your presence— take not Your Ruach ha-Kodesh from me. 14 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12-14 TLV) 

Along these lines, pray again:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:15 TLV) 

Verses Cited:

Then each man said to his brother, “We’re truly guilty for our brother. We saw the distress of his soul when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why this distress has come to us.” 22Reuben answered them and said, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy’? But you didn’t listen. Now, see how his blood is now being accounted for.” (Genesis 42:21–22 TLV)

About three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has been a prostitute—look, she’s even pregnant by prostitution.” “Bring her out!” Judah said, “and let her be burned.” 25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law saying, “I’m pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.” Then she said, “Do you recognize whose these are—the seal, the cords and the staff?” 26Then Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I didn’t give her to my son Shelah.” He was not intimate with her again. (Genesis 38:24–26 TLV)

Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Please, send the boy with me and we’ll get up and go, so that we’ll live and not die—we and you, and our children. 9I myself will be his pledge. You can demand him back from my own hand. If I don’t bring him back to you and place him before you, then you can blame me all my days. (Genesis 43:8–9 TLV)