Joseph on Forgiveness Part 4
Folks ask, “When did Joseph forgive his brothers?”
The rational answer is that this forgiveness occurred years later when the brothers show up in Egypt. However, the forgiveness was even now taking place after arriving in Egypt. . Here’s why: a person full of unforgiveness and bitterness will never be described as “The Lord was with Joseph.”
Bitterness, which is hate well-done, is the worst of all human emotions. Nothing good can come from bitterness. Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills someone else.
There’s a saying, “Bitterness is a liquid that harms the vessel in which it is stored more than the person on which it is poured.
If anyone had reason to be bitter, it was young Joseph. Spoiled by his father, hated by his brothers, betrayed and sold as a slave by those same brothers. I’ve always visualized Joseph in the dry cistern crying out for help as his brothers sat nearby eating supper. I can see the bound Joseph being led away toward Egypt, calling frantically for his brothers.
That’s the recipe for a good helping of bitterness, but there is no trace of it in any of Joseph’s actions in Egypt. He seems to be free from bitterness. Suffice it to say, the Lord is with Joseph.
Over time, Potiphar gave Joseph more and more responsibility until as his house manager, he decided to place everything in Potiphar’s life.
One more thing on forgiveness: it lightens the load.
Joseph, being free from bitterness and resentment, carried a lighter load.
Forgiveness and grudges are a heavy load to carry.
Traveling light is the best way to a happy journey.
Our hero Joseph was traveling light. There is no self-pity or bitterness evident in his life. That got unloaded from his pack somewhere earlier on his personal journey.
We must ask ourselves: what am I carrying that is weighing me down?
Jumping ahead about twenty years in our story, Joseph who is now vice president of Egypt, encounters his brothers who’ve shown up in the midst of a great famine. He now has the power and authority to pay them back for their long-ago mistreatment.
But he doesn’t.
Instead, Joseph puts the ten older brothers to a series of tests that prove they have changed. Then in the climactic part of the story (Genesis 45), he emotionally reveals himself to the brothers.
The ten brothers shrink back in fear. Their so-called goose has been cooked.
Joseph says, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”
No scent of bitterness . . . only a full-fledged, overflowing forgiveness
We jump to the conclusion of Joseph’s story in Genesis 50. After their father’s death, the brothers come before Joseph unsure of his complete forgiveness.
Joseph weeps and says, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is being done, the saving of many lives.”
Joseph, a man of God.
An example of total forgiveness.
A man who never forgot where he came from.
Joseph, a man who never forgot to whom he belonged.
Joseph, a man of forgiveness.
If you missed previous posts on Joseph, visit www.creekbank.net