Joseph meets his brothers: Genesis 42
How do you face those who harmed you? This was the question Joseph faces when his dreams come true and his brothers bow before him begging for food in a famine. The scene actually plays out the way we often dream about when we think of those who have harmed us. We want them to bow down to us with their fate in our hands. We dream of meeting out justice for the harm that was done to us. Joseph lives out this dream and holds the lives of his brothers in his hand.
Today we read about the meeting of Joseph and his brothers, we read that Joseph wept at the weight of the moment. But what we do not see yet is what he does with the lives in his hands. Though he weeps, Joseph is confronted with the ultimate dilemma we actually face every day. Do we live for revenge or do we live to forgive?
The Christian answer is to forgive, but in my experience this is amazingly difficult. Sometimes forgiveness takes a lifetime because of the deepness of the pain. Sometimes the harm is ongoing and we are still currently being victimized. Sometimes the pain and the anger is all that we have to hold onto in the world. Sometimes the person who hurt us in no way deserves our forgiveness because they are not sorry. Forgiveness is really, really hard.
I believe this is why Joseph wept. I believe the weight of the choice before him and the struggle of his heart brought the weight of the world upon him. Looking into the eyes of his brothers he had to ask himself if he could see beyond the hurt and see how God plan was bearing itself out in not only himself, but also his brothers.
So what about us. Can we look beyond the pain and offer forgiveness. In tomorrow’s reading we will see that God’s plan of the Israelites blessing the world can not happen without Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers. So how is God wanting to move in your life, in our church, in this world through forgiveness. I truly believe that the way God works most perfectly is through forgiveness. It is the center of His love for us, the center of the work and person of Christ, the center of all salvation History.