Genesis 50: 15-21
15 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?’ 16 So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17 “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. 18 Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’ 19 But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 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. 21 So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
In the American crime series ‘Bones’ there is a long storyline of family reconciliation. One of the main characters, Temperance, grew up without her father. She was left in the foster system with her brother at a young age, without explanation and her parents never returned.
In the passage today Joseph has done a lot of his growing up in Egypt having been sold into slavery by his brothers out of jealously and for a profit.
The Father figure in Bones left, it transpires, to protect her and through her experiences she becomes the woman she is, who saves lives and solves mysteries with science. Through Joseph’s experiences too and with God he becomes a man who saves Egypt and other lands including his family’s from famine with his ideas and ear for God’s plans.
I often wonder how Joseph forgave his brothers so easily and I find comfort in characters like Temperance and her very slow reconciliation. It goes on for several series over many bumps and false starts. Perhaps Joseph took longer in his heart than out loud, but Temperance as a character was never one to keep her true thoughts hidden.
Forgiveness is really hard,
especially when it is someone who is supposed to care for us.
Please help us to treasure our family, our friends and you.