Key Verse: Genesis 45:1: “Then Joseph could not control himself (any longer) in front of all those who attended him, and he called out, “Have everyone leave me.” So, no man stood there when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers.” (AMP)
We all have one or two persons that have hurt us deeply. Whenever their names come to mind, our pulse quickens as we remember the pain. But whatever the case may be, Jesus commanded us to forgive those who hurt us because in so doing we will be called the sons of God (Mathew 5:43-45). It is not easy to forgive. In fact, forgiveness is not an option, but a command from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Forgiveness is like swallowing a very bitter pill. It is refusing to be bitter in the face of manifold offences and hurts. A man of God said that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has this to say: “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.” Joseph was framed an attempted adulterer and rapist, yet he never allowed bitterness to find its way in his life.
Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Forgiveness is demonstrating reconciliation and not retribution. Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they conspired to kill him. They had thrown him into a pit with the intention of leaving him there to starve to death. When they saw merchants heading toward Egypt, they sold Joseph to them for 20 pieces of silver. As far as they knew, Joseph was dead!
The Hand of God is in every situation, except you are not a child of God and there is no plan against you that will succeed. Finally, in God’s own strategy, Joseph met with his brothers in Egypt after 21 years they sold him into slavery. Joseph, however, recognised them, but he did not reveal himself to them. He accused them of being spies, but they insisted they were all brothers of one man, and the other brother had died. Joseph detained one of them and insisted that the only way they could prove they were not spies was to bring their younger brother Benjamin the next time they come to Egypt.
Joseph’s brothers came back to Egypt bringing Benjamin with them. It was time for Joseph to reveal himself to his brothers. He was so moved when he saw his full brother Benjamin that he yearned to hug him but restrained himself.
Joseph became so overwhelmed with emotion that he ordered all the Egyptians who were with him out of the room and he said to them: “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” You don’t need a stranger in a family matter. The Bible said he welcomed them, embraced them, cried upon each of them, and reconciled with them (Genesis 45:14-15). Joseph did not remind them of their past wrong, but only asked: “Is father still alive.”
The Bible tells us repeatedly that we are to forgive those who sin against us. Why forgive? The Bible tells us in Mathew 6:14-15 that God will not forgive us unless we forgive others. Joseph is one of the greatest examples of human forgiveness in the Bible. The true mark of a child of God is that you are ready to forgive and let go. Let us, like Joseph, embrace and forgive one another. It is in so doing that you will be called God’s son.
• Today’s nugget: You don’t need a stranger in a family matter. Prayer: Lord help me forgive again and again.