“So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.”
—Genesis 50:21a NIV
Incredibly, miraculously, Joseph was able to forgive his brothers.
They sold him into slavery at the age of 17 and robbed him of his freedom for more than a decade. By Genesis 50, Joseph was the second-most-powerful person in Egypt, and he could have easily ordered his brothers’ torture and execution to avenge their wrongdoing.
But instead he showed them mercy and actually provided for them and their families.
Now, much is said of the power of forgiveness to bring healing to our mind and body, and it certainly does that. I doubt that Joseph would have been able to truly prosper in Egypt if his heart had been full of bitterness against his brothers.
But the power of forgiveness goes far beyond self-help.
In Joseph’s case, his decision to forgive his brothers ended up being pivotal in world history.
You see, one of his brothers was Judah, the direct ancestor of Jesus. And when he spared his brothers’ lives he preserved Jesus’ ancestral line and played a key role in God’s plan to save humanity.
When we choose to obey God in seemingly insignificant things like the command to forgive others (see Matt. 18:21-22, Lk. 6:37, Lk. 17:3-4), we end up playing a part in his greater plan of reconciliation with the world. A decision that seems small at the moment may end up having an impact for generations to come.
Here is a short prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: Father,
Breathe out: Help me forgive them.