Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.
4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
Genesis 45: 1 – 5 ESV
Whenever I read this passage I am baffled at how Joseph is more concerned about his brothers not being angry at themselves than about hearing
many repetitions of, “We’re so sorry for selling you, little brother.” How could he so easily put aside the anger, frustration, and sadness he experienced for years on end because of his brothers? And then the answer hits me squarely in the face: God’s grace.
His brothers didn’t deserve forgiveness. They also didn’t deserve Joseph’s kindness, love, or compassion. If anything, they deserved to be turned away after being publicly ridiculed. Joseph apparently realized, however, that God’s grace is bigger than what his brothers put him through. God chooses to shower us with the gift of grace when we least deserve it because He is full of love and forgiveness. Therefore, since He is always eager to cover our mess ups with this undeserved gift, we should do the same when others “mess up” towards us. Easier said than done, right?
It seems that being gracious to others requires more than just a one time mental agreement with ourselves to do so. It takes repeating this agreement over and over until our hearts and minds truly believe it. It also takes forgiveness and removing thoughts of the wrong from our minds. In sum, it requires diligence and a soft heart.
Who in your life deserves your grace?