Read: Genesis 44:1 – 45:28
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:4-5
Wow. I think we can all agree that Joseph definitely had every right to be infuriated with his brothers. They conspired to kill him, threw him into a pit and finally sold him into slavery. As a result, he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife and unjustly thrown into prison. Not fun. Joseph had lots of time to stew on this. He could have built up rage and hate towards his entire family. But he didn’t. Instead of plotting revenge, Joseph demonstrated God’s unconditional forgiveness as described in Ephesians 4:32 The Message: “Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”
Reconciliation was achieved through Joseph’s immediate sincere and total forgiveness of his brothers. Joseph’s perfect trust in God’s plan for his life allowed him to forgive and love his family. By forgiving them, he not only freed his brothers of guilt, but he also freed himself of a lifetime of anger and bitterness. Forgiveness is a vital part of our Christian experience. Does forgiveness come easily? Nope. We have all sinned against God and we have all received His mercy, grace and forgiveness. So now it’s time to share the love as we are instructed in Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Lord, this is hard and I can’t do it without you. Teach me to trust you with a plan for my life. Help me to forgive – even the big stuff. Let my forgiveness be quick and permanent. I pray that others will forgive me in the same way. Thank YOU for always forgiving me so completely. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.