So, this is it. The most heart warming part of Joseph’s story, as far as I’m concerned. The scene from Genesis 45 when Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers is absolutely beautiful to me. His emotions get hold of him, his eagerness to be reunited with his family, his desire to know how his father is doing they all come pouring out of him. As does the forgiveness that I talked about yesterday. “Don’t be hard on yourselves for what you did to me. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. It was God who sent me here, not you!” Again, the level of character and faith that Joseph displays is astounding, and on top of that the level of forgiveness. It amazes me. Yes, I’m going to keep beating that horse because we need to be better at forgiving!
Christian people are the recipients of the greatest act of forgiveness that has ever been or will ever be; and yet we are some of the hardest hearted, stubborn, unrelenting people in the world. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” Paul writes in Colossians 3. Some of the strongest warnings from Jesus come attached to his teaching about forgiveness. The parable of the unmerciful servant from Matthew 18. There is the warning from Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
And then there is the addendum that Jesus adds on after he teaches the disciples the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 “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.” It’s all pretty clear really. But how stubborn and disobedient we are!
You know really fries my chicken about unforgiveness? Life is so much better when we forgive, are reconciled and get on with life. I just don’t understand how that doesn’t sink in. I think that is why this picture from Genesis 45 is so beautiful to me. A family is mended. Tears of joy, shouts of thanksgiving, warm embraces. What’s not to like? And I bet you God smiled.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 46-47