Genesis 45:4-18 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’

“You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’

Forgiveness is accepting the person as he is. Very often we expect people to change according to our expectations. When they don’t, there is conflict. Relationships deepen if we forgive each other continually.

Joseph did not forgive his brothers because they changed but because he had the spirit to forgive.

Forgiveness is taking a risk. Joseph agrees to meet his brothers after so many years because he has forgiven them. He makes himself vulnerable. But there is no guarantee that he will not hurt again by the same people. He might be called a fool for forgiving his brothers. The world would suggest he retaliate. But because he had the presence of the Lord, he was quick to forgive.

There is no guarantee that when we forgive people they will not betray us.

Let us look at Jesus on the Cross. He continually forgave people – Peter, Thomas and Judas Iscariot. But all of them hurt him again. He went back to them after the resurrection.

Forgiveness does not mean that the other will change totally.

Forgiveness is a way of living. It is developing a readiness within ourselves to forgive. When we forgive, we reveal the characteristics of Jesus in us.

The characteristics that were revealed in Joseph when he forgave his brothers were grace, love, patience, forbearance and self-control. Just by forgiving his brothers, Joseph brought out all the characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are w missing out on the wonderful opportunity of revealing the characteristics of the Lord in the way we forgive one another? Faults are thick where love is thin.

Jesus showed us how to forgive and to be free.

At home, at work, in our community, it is important to forgive. Who should forgive first? The one who is spiritually mature.

The real test of forgiveness is when we have the power to make the other person pay, but we choose not to use it. Forgiveness absorbs the wrongs others have done without exacting payment. If there’s payment, there’s payment, there’s no need for forgiveness.

Let us practice forgiveness and let us ask the Lord to give us the spirit of forgiveness. Let us constantly renew our commitment to the Lord. Let us keep close to the Cross. At the Cross, there is reconciliation, relationships are strengthened and forgiveness happens.

Let us ask the Lord to forgive us so that we can forgive one another.  Jesus showed us how to forgive. Let us follow Christ as our model.


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Rev. C A Benjamin