Forgiveness is a unique thought in the times in which we live. In our uptight culture of road rage, cyberbullying, and frivolous lawsuits, we prize revenge as a virtue. I don’t remember when I last saw a movie celebrating forgiveness. Payback is the story our culture likes to see.
We’ve all been hurt by someone. We’ve all been taken advantage of. We’ve all been insulted. We’ve all had people wish us ill. Yet Joseph faced all those things and was able to extend forgiveness. Joseph shows us a better way. In Joseph’s story, we learn how to overcome adversity, how to face envy from others, how to resist sexual temptation, and how to lay hold of and have faith in the promises of God.
The most significant lesson in the life of Joseph, however, is how to forgive those who have hurt us. There isn’t a better example of forgiveness in the Bible than Jesus, but apart from our Lord, Joseph shows forgiveness on an epic level.
Joseph was able to say to his brothers who had sold him into slavery years earlier, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (Genesis 50:20 NLT). In other words, “It was not you who sent me here but God.”
The theme of Joseph’s life could be summed up in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (NLT). Whatever happened in Joseph’s life, God used it for His glory.
We may not have full resolution on some things until we get to Heaven and God explains it. Or maybe just seeing His face will explain it all. Whatever it is, it ultimately will work together for good.