After reading todays passage, I certainly gained a new perspective on what it means to have a crazy family. While my family may be just as dysfunctional as anybody else’s, it seems pretty hard to top Joseph’s. I mean it isn’t every day that your brothers plot to kill you, kidnap you, tie you up, and sell you into slavery… right? While our situations might not be as extreme as Joseph’s, our relatives can still be a great source of pain in our lives.
Growing up in a home without a father, I can empathize with the pain so many are subject to when it comes to “parent problems.” In a world where nearly one in two marriages end up in divorce, and one in three American children grow up without a father in their lives, it is no wonder so many in our culture today struggle with their relationship with their parents. This is a very real pain in the hearts of many, often times becoming a major point of emotional stress.
Joseph certainly had a fair deal of family related trauma he carried. Honestly, it’s unimaginable for me to think about being sold into slavery by your own family. Yet, despite this audacious action by his brothers, notice how Joseph responds when he reunites with them many years later. First, he weeps. Those who have been a major point of pain in his life are standing before him! Surely, that must be an emotional experience. But then he does the unthinkable. Joseph forgives them.
“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.” Genesis 45:4-5
Do you see Christ in this picture? Joseph’s brothers had committed an unthinkable offense against him, and he forgives them. Much like how you and I have committed unthinkable offenses against God, and He sent his son to die on a cross so we could be forgiven. I’m not going to pretend to know your story, or the pain you might have at the hands of your family or parents. But I do know there is freedom found in forgiveness. Have you forgiven those in your life who have hurt you?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32