Read Genesis 50:15-26."But Joseph said to them, 'Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God?'" NIV
After all they had been through with Joseph, the brothers were still afraid of him and the retribution he could wield. I'm amazed that they hadn't seen him for who he really had become. But they had seen his dreams come true. I suppose that would bring fear to anyone. They also probably suffered from a lot of guilt over what they had done to Joseph and their father. Now that Jacob's protection was gone, Joseph could use his power to get revenge. But he didn't.
Joseph had found amazing forgiveness and healing over the years. He chose to see the situation for what God had done with it rather than dwelling in the midst of his suffering. How easy would it have been for Joseph to have all his brothers thrown in prison for the remainder of their lives? He'd have not only gotten rid of them, but gained all their wealth as well. But Joseph was not the man they thought he had become. The scars remained, but the heart was pure.
How often do we choose to hang onto the scars and bitterness of our past? The damage that causes affects so many aspects of our lives -- physical well-being, relationships, most importantly the hardness of our hearts and our relationship with the Father. Forgiveness sets us free from the bondage of our hurt and allows us to move in step with the Father, not with the past.
- Are you hanging onto bitterness in your life?
- How does Joseph reflect Jesus and his future suffering?
- How was Joseph a big-picture thinker?
- Write down some thoughts about Joseph's life and how his example can help you grow?