Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:1-7
My good friend, Roger VonderBruegge told me, “Letting it go is a choice you make, not because it feels right, but because it is right.” You know what? He was right on. It was tough to hear at 25 years of age and newly married, but he was right.
Joseph chooses to leave all the vindication of one’s wrongs to God. He tells his brothers, you sold me, but God sent me ahead of you to save lives. We need to see clearly 2 aspects of every event in our lives—on the one hand the human mishandling and on the other hand the perfect will of God. Fixing our eyes on the latter will enable us to let go and let God!!
Often we hear others say, I cannot forgive him because he hurt me so badly.” What they mean is, “I cannot voluntarily commit to forgiveness because I cannot emotionally get over the hurt.” But forgiving and forgetting can never be done emotionally until they are first done voluntarily. We say, “If I felt it, I would act,” but Scriptures teaches, “If we act it, we feel it.”
Henri Nouwen often said, “I forgive you,” but even as I have said these words, my heart remained angry and resentful. I still wanted to hear the story that tells me I was right after all; I still wanted to hear apologies and excuses; I still wanted the satisfaction of receiving some praise in return—if only the praise for being so forgiving!! But God’s forgiveness is unconditional—it comes from a heart that doesn’t demand anything for itself, a heart that is completely empty of self-seeking. It is this divine forgiveness that I have to practice in my daily life—it calls me to keep stepping over all the arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy and impractical. Finally it demands that I step over the wounded part of my heart that feels wronged, that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one whom I am asked to forgive.” What do you need to step over the wounded part of your life this morning? I’m constantly challenged each day to step over some aspect of my wounded heart.
Let’s pray to voluntarily commit to forgiveness today, not resentment. God works you through the brokenness of our lives. Pray for deliverance this morning. Pray for the heart of Joseph this morning. It’s time to step over the wounds of the past and find healing in Jesus!