Family members can be your most reliable allies and at the same time they can be ferocious enemies. Many family members have absolutely no loyalty to the family tree. They sometimes commit the most heinous evil against other family members.
Consequently, forgiveness for wrongs committed by a family member seldom comes. Even though some of those members may call themselves Christians, they retaliate with vengeance.
In the above text, we come face to face with the brothers of Joseph who are cheats and liars. Joseph is the most powerful individual in Egypt, next to the Pharaoh. He sits in that position because of his brothers’ jealousy to get rid of him.
Because of the love his father displayed for him, his brothers envied him and plotted to be rid of him. Consequently, when the opportunity presented itself, they sold him to a traveling caravan of merchants who sold him into slavery in Egypt.
However, despite the hard time and misfortune he experienced in Egypt, he stayed loyal to his God. The Lord protected him and subsequently paved the way for him to become most powerful in Egypt.
A great famine visited the nation of Egypt and the surrounding nations. Joseph, who had been placed in charge of the storage in Egypt, had accumulated sufficient food for the nation and was able to supply and sell to people from the surrounding nations.
When the brothers visited Egypt seeking food, Joseph helped them. Notwithstanding the evil his brothers had committed against him, Joseph treated them extremely well. He had his father and brothers settle on some of the best land in Egypt.
However, upon the father’s death, the brothers considered themselves aliens in Egypt and knowing that their brother was a most powerful man, they feared that he would seek revenge against them for their previous sins. The brothers committed another evil sin, using their Father’s name, and they invoked the name of the Lord.
Many individuals in such a powerful position as Joseph, probably would have gotten revenge after his father’s death. However, not so with Joseph; he was a Godly man.
When the love of God lives within us, we can put aside hurts and injustice. God’s love helps us to look beyond the hurts and to forgive.
Knowing the love Joseph had for his God and his father, the brothers concocted a note purported to be from their father. In the note, they said that their father had requested that Joseph not seek revenge against them.
This note cut Joseph deeply. He wept at receiving it. He displayed his love and compassion for his brothers by blessing them. He also assured them that he would not usurp God’s power of judgment. Instead, he promised that he would not harm them and that he would take care of them and their children.
Joseph demonstrated the love of God in the way he acted toward his evil brothers. He loved and forgave them. We, too, are called to love and to forgive those who wrong us. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, is pastor of the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr., P. O. Box N 4794, phone 242-426-9084, webpage: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.