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.
With their father gone what was to keep Joseph from finally getting even with his jealous, mean, and treacherous brothers? Afterall, he had endured being sold into slavery by them; and he had suffered the alienation of being torn from his family and living as a foreigner in Egypt. Yet, he also had good reason to forgive and to bless his brothers. He had been blessed by God in unexpected ways. He had become Pharaoh’s right-hand man and trusted as a wise consultant during a time of drought and famine. As the head of a grain reserve program God used him to bless, not only the Egyptians, but Joseph’s own family as well! As we remember the horrors of the terrorists’ attack of Sept. 11, 2001, may we recall how our loving, forgiving, and gracious Lord died for his enemies as well as for his friends. May the Holy Spirit empower us to love our enemies and help us see how God can transform enemies into friends.
Holy Spirit of our crucified and risen Lord, empower us to love our enemies. Make us aware that, like Joseph, we have been blessed to be a blessing in all that we say and do. Amen.