And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.Genesis 45:1-5
Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, a well-known secular humanists and novelists, said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.”
Joseph was able to finish his race strong because he looked to God during difficult situations. Even when he was sold into slavery, tempted, and wrongly accused, he remained faithful through God’s strength. But he also finished running his race because he learned to forgive those who had wronged him.
After his brothers had sold him into slavery and Joseph had spent many years in Egypt, his brothers had come to Egypt seeking food during a famine. This was a testing time for Joseph. He had been elevated to ruler over Egypt and he had the power to punish his brothers if he wanted, yet we see… that he forgave them. Joseph had suffered in slavery and in prison because of his brothers, yet he still loved them and chose to forgive them.
I doubt any of us have had to suffer slavery or imprisonment because of someone else, yet God still desires that we would forgive during life’s difficulties. When we are wronged, we all have a choice to make. We can become bitter and seek revenge or we can forgive that person. Many people will tell us we deserve to have the wrong made right, but God shows us through the life of Joseph that we can forgive even in the toughest situations.
It is not easy to forgive when we are wronged, but as we see in the life of Joseph, we must focus on Christ. Genesis 50:19-20 says, “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Joseph realized that God had a plan for all he had been through and he was able to forgive his brothers as he focused on God.
We cannot forgive others in our own strength. Our human nature tells us to seek revenge and keep things “even” between us and others. But God has called us to forgive others even if others do not deserve our forgiveness. He gives us an example of undeserved forgiveness in Luke 23:34, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” As our Lord hung on the Cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him. What forgiveness! There shouldn’t be any situation in which we are not willing to forgive others!
Is there an unresolved situation in your life? Is there someone you need to forgive? We will not be able to keep running our race and finish strong if there is unforgiveness in our lives. Take time now to seek God’s help in forgiving others. Ask Him to point out any unforgiveness or unsettled situations in your life. Commit to forgiving others as you continue running your race today.(From “Daily in the Word”)