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Joseph’s Forgiveness – Genesis 45:5

The power to forgive comes as a divine gift. We choose to forgive, but God empowers our forgiveness. The desire for vengeance can be so overpowering that without God’s intervention, genuine forgiveness rarely takes place. God enabled Joseph to choose forgiveness when his brothers deserved retribution. God used that willingness to assure the survival of the very brothers who had conspired to end Joseph’s life. Joseph’s early years offer a case study of a dysfunctional family. For years, he was Rachel and Jacob’s only son. Jacob had ten other sons by three other women, but Joseph received special treatment. When Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin, Joseph had already become his father’s favorite. Jacob singled Joseph out with a special coat of many colors. His brothers despised him. Intense competition between their mothers, along with Jacob’s favoritism, fueled jealousy and resentment among the brothers toward Joseph. Benjamin was probably to young to be involved. Joseph didn’t help matters by sharing a couple of his dreams with the rest of the family. These dreams highlighted his future role as ruler over his family. Even Jacob was shocked. The brothers decided to kill Joseph. God’s intervention led to the brothers’ modifying their murderous plans. Instead, they sold Joseph into slavery. They soaked the special coat in animal blood and used it to convince Jacob that his favorite son had been killed by wild beasts.

Joseph’s next years were a roller coaster of experiences. Divine intervention eventually ushered him into Pharaoh’s palace where he managed the food supplies in Egypt during a widespread famine. That famine brought Joseph’s brothers back into his life. They came for food and had no idea that they were at the mercy of the brother they had betrayed. When Joseph finally revealed his identity, his brothers were terrified. They knew what they deserved. But instead of revenge, Joseph offered forgiveness and mercy, thanking God who worked out everything for His glory. Joseph demonstrated the cost of forgiveness. We forgive, not by making the offense unimportant, but by loving the offender. For that, we need God’s help.

KEY POINTS ON FORGIVENESS:
  • Forgiveness is a CHOICE to give up our RIGHTS for vengeance, retribution and negative thought’s toward our offender(s).
  • Forgiveness is not FORGETTING.
  • Forgiveness is not necessarily RECONCILIATION. Forgiveness takes ONE, reconciliation takes TWO.
  • Forgiveness is not CONDONING what took place.
  • Forgiveness in not allowing the INJUSTICE to continue.
  • Forgiveness does not remove the PAIN but staying in un-forgiveness will never allow you to HEAL.
  • Forgiveness does not restore TRUST. Trust has to be earned.
  • Forgiveness does not remove CONSEQUENCES.

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