TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Genesis 45:4-11
It doesn’t get much more personal than your brothers selling you into slavery to foreign merchants. That is what happens to Joseph as recorded in Genesis 37. Can you imagine how many times Joseph replays in his mind that scene of being pulled out of the pit by his brothers and being sold to Midianite traders on their way to Egypt?
How tempting it must have been for Joseph to imagine how he would take revenge on his brothers if he ever gets the opportunity! He has plenty of time to work on his plan for retribution as he labors as a stranger in Egypt and then as he sits in an Egyptian prison. While his brothers are enjoying life back home surrounded by family, here sits Joseph in a foreign land. It would be easy to understand how Joseph could have been consumed by bitterness and hatred for his brothers.
Imagine Joseph’s surprise when years later, his brothers show up in Egypt to buy food during a famine. As we read Genesis 42, we learn that Joseph had become the second in command over all Egypt and ran the distribution of food during a widespread famine. My, how the tables had turned! What a perfect opportunity for Joseph to unleash all of the frustration, anger, and hatred he must have felt toward his brothers for their mistreatment of him years before.
Joseph ultimately decides to forgive his brothers instead of taking revenge! Joseph shows us how to reframe a tragedy. Instead of focusing on his brothers’ cruelty, he chooses to see God’s hand of providence. Joseph tells his brothers that it was God who sent him to Egypt so Joseph could save and provide for his family during the famine (Genesis 45:7-8). Instead of saying, “I will destroy you,” Joseph says, “I will provide for you” (Genesis 45:11).
What an amazing example of forgiveness! It is so hard to forgive when we are deeply hurt by someone close to us. Joseph shows that the key is to keep focused on God’s plan for our lives and not dwell on the actions of those who mistreat us.
Today, I will…put aside the bitterness of my personal hurts and focus on God’s plan for my life.