“Forgiving Others”

On May 19, Pastor Jim preaches on Genesis 50:15-21.

15 Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” 16 So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now, therefore, please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21 So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

If anyone deserved to be resentful, it was Joseph. His big brothers hated him all his life and treated him accordingly. At one point they grabbed him and threw him in an underground cistern.

Just as they were about to leave him crying out in the darkness in that terrible chamber of death, along came a caravan of Bedouin traders on their camels. Realizing the opportunity, they pulled Joseph out from that pit and sold him into slavery. He was taken to Egypt, put to work, and eventually landed in prison.

Fast-forwarding ahead, Joseph rises to power and all but rules Egypt. God was with him through it all.

One day a group of Hebrew brothers, starving from famine, came down to Egypt to buy grain. Imagine how Joseph’s heart must have leaped in his royal robes when he saw them bowing before him, not knowing who he was. It was payback time.

He could have had them jailed or killed. At the very least he could have let them quake in fear and uncertainty. Instead, Joseph wept and forgave them. He said, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good…”

Is there someone you haven’t forgiven?