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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Kindness as forgiveness

Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them. ~ Genesis 50:15-21

Joseph had every reason not to forgive his brothers. They had, after all, nearly killed him and then as a last minute reprieve sold him into slavery.

Of course, luckily for them, Joseph made out pretty well in Egypt (after initially having a tough time of it). Was it easier for him to forgive them simply because things went well?

Did he forgive them just because they were his brothers?

And more than even forgive...provide for.

Joseph said that what they meant for ill, God worked out for good. I might debate a little with the use of the term "intended." Did God intend simply to make Joseph suffer just so he could save the Hebrew people?

Or did God take the evil that Joseph's brothers freely did on their own and use that to accomplish good. Not going to lie, I think of it more as the latter.

Either way, Joseph saw beyond his own suffering at the hands of those who were supposed to love him and instead of condemning them, he forgave them and showed kindness and mercy well beyond what they deserved.

Holy God, move me toward justice, mercy, and humility in all my dealings with your people. Amen

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