Few of us have ever experienced the level of betrayal and malice that Joseph endured at the hands of his own brothers. They were so ticked that they wanted to kill their own brother instead selling him into slavery. It is what happened years later that blows my mind!
I am sure that if we all look back in our lives we’d find accomplishments and failures, surprises and great disappointments. People fail us and do not always met our expectations. Many of us have been severely hurt by others. Those hurts, if never resolved, can fester in our hearts and destroy our lives.
Forgiveness is easy to talk about not always easy to execute. Joseph’s example helps us to understand what forgiveness is all about. He demonstrates that humility toward those who wrong us has a powerful affect. Forgiveness is like releasing people from their debts to us. Until we forgive it is as if they owe us something. When we forgive, we allow ourselves to move forward expecting nothing in return. When we forgive, we grant relational freedom to the other person.
This is the crazy result of forgiveness. I am sure Joseph felt much pain over being betrayed and sold by his own family. Now in a place of power and leadership, his brothers run into him years later and are in a really bad situation. Watch what happens when he sees his brothers and finds out their deep need.
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.” (Genesis 50:19-21)
Do me a favor, look back up at the picture on the top. That pretty much answers your question should you forgive someone that has wronged you.
Forgiveness doesn’t change the past, but it gives you peace for the future.