There is ‘TRUE’ POWER in FORGIVENESS
January 17 Bible Reading: Genesis Chapters 49-50
After Jacob died and was buried, there was no one now to stand before Joseph if he had wanted to take revenge on his brothers. The way Joseph’s brothers had behaved to him earlier had been like “the archers who bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him” (Gen. 49:23) according to the last prophetical words of his father Jacob. His brothers had hated him, plotted to murder him, and then sold him to Egypt where he was separated from all his loved ones. As the master of Egypt Joseph had all the reasons along with the political power/authority and now also the opportunity to repay his brothers for their hatred and betrayal towards him. That is why his brothers pleaded for mercy and declared their servitude to him. What was Joseph’s reaction when the messengers sent by his brothers requested his clemency? Gen. 50:17b says that “Joseph wept when they spoke to him”. We can visualize the tender heart of Joseph as he becomes very emotional. After this, Joseph spoke something profound to his brothers: “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them”. (Gen. 50:19-20)
Based on Joseph’s response to his brothers, let’s look to Romans 12:19-21: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”. Below are some learning points for us:
- We should not replace God’s role at any time when it comes to striking back at others who have harmed us.
- We need to love and forgive our enemies as Christ has taught us (Matt. 5:43-44; 6:14-15)
- We need to move beyond forgiveness and show our love in action by providing for the needs of our enemies as Joseph had done for his brothers.