We all remember Joseph? Joseph who was to be killed by his brothers but saved for a fate some would consider worse than death, because he was sold into slavery.
Genesis chapter 45 gives us the touching story of Joseph and his brothers being reunited. Verses 4 and 5 of this chapter are two beautiful verses. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.”
Perhaps it took Joseph a long time to come to this realization and forgive his brothers. I am sure the trip to Egypt gave him ample time to consider all that had happened. He could have let the feelings of resentment and hatred toward his brother perculate and build up over the years, until such a time he could act out his revenge upon his evil brothers. But, he didn’t. Instead he forgave them. He forgave them long before they ever came to Egypt to buy grain.
Genesis 50:19-21 complete the story. “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this posiition so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speakingly kindly to them.
How often in this life when another has picked on us, they have abused us, that we seek revenge. Yet the heart of the abuser can be changed by the power of God, but all that good the Holy Spirit has done their heart can be wipped out in a moment when we fail to forgive with the same spirit that Joseph showed.
Abuse is a horrible thing which is brought about by sin, but even this can be used by God to shap us and mold us for a service for Him that others cannot do.
May we be like Joseph and say, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good . . . so I could save the lives of many people.” as hard as it is, reassure those that seek your forgiveness by speaking kindly to them.