18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. - Genesis 50:18-21
Genesis concludes with a powerful story of forgiveness. It is a difficult subject in many situations, even unpopular, but necessary. Our relationship with the Lord hinges on forgiveness and our relationship with other people may not hinge, but is certainly dependent on our understanding and willingness to forgive. Joseph had been treated horribly by his brothers numerous times and they feared for their life. They were absolutely certain slavery was their future. But Joseph had a different plan. Well, God had a different plan and Joseph was very quick to let them know why not only would he set them free, but he would provide for them and their children. And of all things he spoke kindly to them. Think for a moment about Joseph’s story. For most of us it would be very difficult to forgive if we had been through the trials and tribulations Joseph had. But it is necessary for us just as it was for Joseph for all the same reasons. Our life, just like Joseph’s, is vital to the kingdom of God and the lives of many people. Forgiveness is vital to our relationships and to the kingdom. Both of those make forgiveness important and necessary.
Heavenly Father, help us to know when to forgive and give us the strength and power to forgive even when it is most difficult. We realize that our relationship with you is undergirded with grace and forgiveness so we ask you do that in us. Help us to forgive. Heal all our relationships that need forgiveness in the midst of them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.