Joshua Masters |
Joseph demonstrates how to forgive and reconcile with people who hurt us.
Living with Integrity – Message 7
March 6, 2022
Introduction: Continue survey of life of Joseph, titled, Living with Integrity.
• Genesis 44:33-34; Matthew 6:14-15
A. Today’s message will focus on, and is entitled, Forgiveness.
- Theme verse: Colossians 3:13 (NLT)—…forgive anyone who offends you. …
- The English word, forgive (several Greek words) means to deal graciously with, to release, loose, to set free, especially with reference to an action causing emotional pain.
- We are called to forgive others because we have been forgiven, but we are warned to move slowly toward reconciliation when convinced that repentance has occurred.
- In the story, Joseph has not communicated his forgiveness or acceptance to his brothers.
- Perhaps he had forgiven his brothers even before they arrived in Egypt to buy food, otherwise, he might have refused to sell them food, then imprisoned and enslaved them.
- After Joseph’s silver cup was found in Benjamin’s bag, the brothers returned to the city (Genesis 44:12-13) where Judah spoke in answer to Joseph’s accusation of theft.
- Genesis 44:33–34 (NLT)—33“So please, my lord, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34For how can I return to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see the anguish this would cause my father!”
- Joseph’s response reveals elements of forgiveness; let’s take a look! Turn to Genesis 45.
II. Forgiveness includes… (Genesis 45:1-28)
A. #1 - Revealing feelings. (Genesis 45:1-3. C/R: Romans 12:14-18; Ephesians 4:2,31-32; Colossians 3:13-14)
- Judah’s self-sacrificing plea, spoken out of concern for Benjamin and compassion for his father Jacob, affected Joseph so deeply that he couldn’t hold back his emotions.
- Genesis 45:1-2 (NLT)—1 Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace. [Sent away attendants, released an anguished cry, then revealed his identity!]
- Genesis 45:3 (NLT)—“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers [in Hebrew]. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned [Hebrew to tremble inwardly, alarmed, terrified] to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them.
- Joseph had broken down emotionally twice before (at Genesis 42:24: he turned away and wept; at 43:30: he was overcome with emotion, wept in a private room).
- Spontaneous emotion is hard to counterfeit; it confirms the sincerity of what is spoken.
- For forgiveness to free us from the pain of past hurts, we must feel the anguish of betrayal, or abandonment, then release the person who caused it deliberately.
- Sometimes we quickly mumble, “I forgive you,” when our feeling are hurt, but we stuff our emotion, deny and suppress the pain, claiming it is better to leave agony in the past.
- When we do that, we don’t heal, so we are continually triggered back to the same place, with the same feelings, whenever a similar situation occurs.
- EX.: A critical boss takes us back to our condemning father, as our mind associates the present uncomfortable situation to past mistreatment; we don’t know it’s happening.
- We need to feel the pain from past memories, discover what we believed about those situations (that’s what stays with us) and then ask God to tell us His perspective on what happened, which will change what we believe and therefore, how we feel.
- We sometimes refuse to forgive because we think we are holding the person who hurt us accountable, making them responsible for their actions—but we are not!
- “If I forgive, they will get away with what they have done to me!” They already have!
- Our unforgiveness only hurts us, keeping the wounds fresh, raw, tender.
- We must forgive because we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:13-14), but those verses imply we have experienced Christ’s forgiveness so we are then able to forgive.
- APP.: Do you stuff or deny your feelings, then declare you have forgiven?
B. #2 - Reflecting on God’s purpose. (Genesis 45:4-8. C/R: Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; Romans 12:19-21; James 2:13)
- Genesis 45:4-7 (NLT)—4“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. [Repeated to penetrate shock!] 5But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. [Knowledge must’ve surprised them.] 7God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive [Heb. a remnant or remainder] and to preserve many survivors. [Or, save with an extraordinary rescue.]
- Verse 7 is the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation (Genesis 12:2), by preserving His chosen people.
- Did Joseph just come to believe that what happened to him was God’s plan or was it revealed to him by God? I think it was revealed; he restates his belief again in verse 8!
- Joseph repeated for 3rd time, God, not them, sent him to Egypt and made him governor!
- Did God cause Joseph’s brothers to sin against him? No, God never tempts people to sin (James 1:13;
- 1 Corinthians 10:13), but He works people’s actions into His plan (Proverbs 16:9; 19:21).
- When we ask, and are told by God, His perspective on a painful situation, that He didn’t abandon us (Hebrews 13:5), it enables us to forgive, to release the person who has hurt us.
- Joseph could forgive his brothers because he learned that God had a purpose for his pain.
- APP.: Can you forgive people who have hurt you if you know God had a purpose? Ask!
C. #3 - Rebuilding relationships. (Genesis 45:9-15. C/R: Romans 12:10-13; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 2:2; 1 Peter 4:8)
- Genesis 45:9-11 (NLT)—9“Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! 10You can live in the region of Goshen [Semitic, not Egyptian name, NE region of the Nile Delta, place with rich soil], where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. 11I will take care of you there, for there are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you, your household, and all your animals will starve.’”
- Forgiveness removes resentment so that we can freely help people who have hurt us.
- Joseph had forgiven his brothers, so he wanted to save them from starvation, but he also wants to begin steps toward reconciliation, restoring and rebuilding relationships that had ended tragically, over 25 years before, when he was cruelly sold into slavery.
- He wants them all near him, including all of their children and grandchildren!
- Genesis 45:12-15 (NLT)—12Then Joseph added, “Look! You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that I really am Joseph! [They’re still in shock. This man doesn’t look like Joseph, or even like a Hebrew; is this a trick?] 13Go tell my father of my honored position here in Egypt. Describe for him everything you have seen, and then bring my father here quickly.” [He may not be easy to convince.] 14Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. [about 10 when Joseph sold] 15Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him. [They started relaxing, believing what they’re hearing.]
- For some of us, forgiveness comes easily (though I’m not sure that is true forgiveness)—because we have no intention of rebuilding a relationship with our offender.
- Interacting with the family would subject Joseph to more painful memories and experiences; causing him to relive what different brothers said and did to him!
- If we have truly forgiven someone who has wounded us, we will no longer resent them, so we will take practical steps to offer assistance and wise steps toward reconciliation.
- APP.: Are you willing to forgive fully and attempt to rebuild your broken relationship?
D. 4 - Relying on God. (Genesis 45:16-28; C/R: Proverbs 21:1; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28)
- Genesis 45:16-20 (NLT)—16The news soon reached Pharaoh’s palace: “Joseph’s brothers have arrived!” Pharaoh and his officials were all delighted to hear this. [They approved of this plan; don’t forget, Pharaoh, not Joseph, was in control of Egypt.]
17Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘This is what you must do: Load your pack animals, and hurry back to the land of Canaan. 18Then get your father and all of your families, and return here to me. I will give you the very best land in Egypt, and you will eat from the best that the land produces.’” [Perhaps after famine ends.]
19Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Take wagons from the land of Egypt to carry your little children and your wives, and bring your father here. 20Don’t worry about your personal belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”
- Pharaoh’s respect for Joseph is evident through his invitation to relocate his family.
- Goshen would be their own area, because Egyptians wouldn’t mix with them (Genesis 43:32); Jacob’s family would grow, expand and prosper.
- Genesis 45:21-23: Joseph provided wagons, supplies and clothes (5 outfits for Benjamin and 300 pieces of silver, as well as sending Jacob ten male and ten female donkeys.)
- Genesis 45:24-28 (NLT)—24So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!” [Arguing about blame; 42:21-22] 25And they left Egypt and returned to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan.
26“Joseph is still alive!” they told him. “And he is governor of all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned at the news—he couldn’t believe it. 27But when they repeated to Jacob everything Joseph had told them, and when he saw the wagons [from Egypt] Joseph had sent to carry him, their father’s spirits revived.
28Then Jacob exclaimed, “It must be true! My son Joseph is alive! I must go and see him before I die.” [No indication they explained how Joseph ended up in Egypt.]
- Joseph needed Pharaoh’s approval to bring his family to Egypt, which he gave!
- Joseph couldn’t control Pharaoh, but God could, and did, to save His people!
- God will always carry out His plan, moving the hearts and minds of every person who is necessary for God to carry out His purpose! (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 8:28)
- APP: When we forgive and attempt to reconcile relationships, we can’t control the other person, but God can, so pray, that we will align our lives with His plan!
- Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)—For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Memory verse: Colossians 3:13 (NLT)–Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.