Profiles of Forgiveness: Joseph

This month we’ll be talking about forgiveness.  It’s a tough and touchy subject, but one that’s crucial to the future of humanity.  For our Monday blog posts we’ll be taking a look at 5 people in the Bible who had some first-hand experience with forgiveness.  We’ll start in the beginning with Joseph.

If you remember the story of Joseph from Genesis 30-50.  His story in a nutshell is that he was one of 12 brothers, his brothers were jealous of his connection to God and his father’s favoritism so they sold him into slavery in Egypt and lied about it to their father.  While in Egypt Joseph ended up in prison, to no fault of his own, and made friends with the prison guard as well as some of the other prisoners.  These two prisoners both worked for the Pharaoh, and one was reinstated as Joseph, through God, predicted from the man’s dream.  Many years later this man remembered Joseph when Pharaoh was plagued by some dreams that his wise people couldn’t figure out.  Joseph asked God and God told him the truth about the dreams-7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine.  Joseph was immediately promoted to the 2nd highest position in Egypt to plan appropriately for the next 14 years.  Several years into the famine Josephs’ brothers come to get food, since they had none anymore.  A couple of interactions later, Joseph reveals himself to them. They’re scared, but Joseph tells them all is forgiven since it was God’s plan that he was sent there and has them all relocate to Egypt, where a joyful reunion with his father occurs.

In Joseph’s case we learn that the pain in life sometimes has a bigger story, that what we initially see as a big problem actually is a big blessing.  Does this make the forgiveness any less significant?  I mean, it must have been easier for Joseph to forgive his brothers since he knew that it was all in God’s plan, right?  For the brothers the forgiveness was very significant, they were afraid for their lives both initially  in Egypt and after their father died (that Joseph would now get revenge).  But Joseph was a true man of faith and really had released the brothers from any claim that he had with them.  Is it easier to forgive when you know the situation is all God’s doing?  Maybe.

If you’re facing a situation that will require forgiveness, ask God what his thoughts and plans are in all of this.  Maybe knowing the truth about the situation will help you forgive as it helped Joseph.

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