What a profound picture of the power of forgiving. If anyone in the history of the world had a reason to live a bitter life, hating others, it was Joseph. If anyone in that room had a reason to weep loudly, it was his brothers. But here is Joseph, unable to contain his emotion…his love.
His emotional release is nearly audible as I read this chapter. The healing that takes place in his soul, because he fully forgives, fills the page with celebration and reminds us that forgiveness is a two-way street. Of course we’re grateful, relieved and humbled when we receive forgiveness. But our souls are freed when we forgive.
Here’s the thing. Joseph doesn’t suddenly find the strength to forgive his brothers because his life is smooth, and he is successful. No. He has been living in an attitude of forgiveness since the day he entered Potiphar’s house, as a slave. If he ever spent a day feeling sorry for himself, angry at his fate, Genesis doesn’t report it. He suffered for sure, but he didn’t wallow. And he certainly doesn’t waist a moment pondering how life could be better, if only…
He simply keeps going. He keeps serving with a good attitude. He keeps acting with good character. He stays in relationship with God. And he lives in a way that other people trust him and want to be around him. Forgiveness was an attitude, that burst into action in Genesis Forty Five.
I want Joesph’s attitude. God, show me when my heart is bitter and my mouth speaks negativity. Convict me and remind me of the live-giving mercy I receive from you every day. Help me to have a constant attitude of forgiveness, and to live a life that gives life to others.