Genesis 50:15-21 (NRSV)
Verse 15Realizing 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?" Verse 16So they approached Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this instruction before he died, Verse 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. Verse 18Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, "We are here as your slaves." Verse 19But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Verse 20Even 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. Verse 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones." In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
It starts with humility. We are learning this during the Covid-19 pandemic. No one has a crystal ball with all the answers. We are all in this together as pilgrims on the road. Humilty is a good “lens” for better understanding our readings for this week
Today we hear the story of Joseph’s dramatic encounter with his brothers. Long ago they had hated Joseph and sold him into slavery. Now he was a man of power and it was payback time. Jacob their father was dead. There was no one to protect the brothers from the consequences of their actions. Yet when they begged Joseph for mercy, he unexpectedly forgave them.
It seems a simple act in retrospect. But it wasn’t. It was God touching Joseph’s heart and softening it that allowed this miracle of forgiveness to take place. How is God touching your heart today to reach out to someone who needs the healing balm of your forgiveness?
Forgiving God, unbend us and teach us to truly listen to you and to each other. Grant us the humility to give and receive forgiveness as part of your forgiving community. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.