Joseph's example of forgiveness

joseph-forgives_brothers

Joseph Reassures His Brothers 
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
But Joseph said to them, “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 now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
– Genesis 50:15-21
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This is a perfect example of what St. Paul wrote approximately 1500 years later: 

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28

PS: I’m not just preaching to you, dear reader. I am preaching to me. We all suffer wrongs and need a reminder to forgive.

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0 responses to “Joseph's example of forgiveness

  1. TD this is a most wonderful and relevant post. Joseph had great wisdom, and he really realized that the ill treatment he had received at a tender young age eventually provided the means for him to be able to save the lives of not only his bothers, their wives and children–but all those who today are living descendants of Joseph and his brothers.

     
  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THESE POSTS!!!
    WordPress.com
    traildustfotm posted: ” Joseph Reassures His Brothers
    When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left thes”

     
  3. I no longer have my Interlinear Bible, I’m writing this from memory and paraphrasing the language, so please be patient with me.
    When Paul writes “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them,” he may be using the Greek word ‘logos’ in the same way that John does so repeatedly in his writing.
    I assume this is the case, as it then makes perfect sense to me: when we come into acceptance of the Logos as Godhead, then we cease our vain struggles against it and ease into accepting that ‘in His Way is our peace.”
    And once this is a fact in our lives, then forgiveness comes far more readily, for we see and acknowledge our place in the Greater Scheme of the Creation! This is what Joseph was able to do, out of his love for God.

     
  4. Dennis H Bennett

    A reminder well taken!
    I do note, however, that God’s ability to forgive, compared with ours, is quite different. Joseph struggled with forgiveness (Gen 42:6ff), as I/we do.
    To expect the timeline we require to “let go” to be as easy as God’s ability to do same is just not realistic given our human carcass. Most especially is this true when we consider the crosses we bear in the midst of our suffering as being incomparable to the suffering and conquest in the Cross of Christ. Thank God, His Holy Spirit attends to our stubborn ways and His will is effected as He chooses.

     
  5. Kevin J Lankford

    You do have to believe in our God, and in the resurrection of the Christ to understand this; to understand that all things are under his control.

     
  6. Had I been Joseph, I would have probably forgiven them, too.
    LOL – But I would have had them sweating bullets before I did.
    -Dave

     
    • “But I would have had them sweating bullets before I did.”
      Joseph did make his brothers “sweat bullets”. Actually, the story of Joseph is way more complicated than what is presented in this post, as are all cases involving complex human relationships. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_%28patriarch%29#Brothers_sent_to_Egypt
      It would be useful for those who preach forgiveness to define what “forgiveness” means, which I tried to do in response to Trail Dust’s first post on forgiveness as “not bearing ill will toward the offender,” but to which I received no response. See http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2015/03/29/about-the-wisdom-of-forgiveness/comment-page-1/#comment-405247.
      Should one “forgive” in the absence of genuine contriteness? Is an apology genuine when there is a pattern of repeated offenses? Does “forgive” mean one must ignore that pattern of offenses and continue the relationship when there is no assurance that the person won’t again offend and wreak havoc? And is it wise for a person, despite a pattern of offenses, to continue that destructive relationship? Left undefined, “forgiveness” becomes empty of meaning and just another trite feel-good word.

       
      • traildustfotm

        You filled in the gaps of my post perfectly, Dr. Eowyn. Excellent commentary.
        PS: I deliberately made this post brief in order to make the picture simple. But the whole story of Joseph and his brothers is well worth reading, and filled with clarification. We must never mistake Biblical forgiveness with Stockholm syndrome.

        Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

         
      • Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this much-needed substantial definition about forgiveness, which also must be followed with repentance and true penance.
        Indeed, Joseph, a brilliant man, utilized his immense power over his brothers given to him by the Pharoah. He literally toyed with them and taught them a lesson.
        And we are also to avoid the “near occasion of sin.” Some people are the near occasion of sin for us, because their intentions are not to build up, but to destroy and cause sin. We must be mindful of this fact. We must forgive our enemies and pray for them as well, which is an act of love most difficult to accomplish at times.

         

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