Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

Friday’s devotion centered on the pain of broken relationship, especially the amplified hurts that occur within families.  God’s story provides encouragement for us to move towards reconciliation and blesses those who make an effort in this direction.  Today, let’s consider the other side of that coin, the transformative power of forgiveness.

Our story took a huge leap forward yesterday and we moved from the three earliest generations (Sarah & Abraham > Rebekah & Issac > Rachel & Jacob) and skipped over the next generation built upon the 12 sons of Rachel & Jacob, including Joseph (the one with the fancy coat).  As you likely remember from Sunday School (or the Broadway production), Joseph’s story results in the relocation of the people with which God has made a covenant deep into the foreign land of Egypt.  In the concluding chapter of Genesis, Joseph and the families of his eleven brothers are reunited in a powerful moment of forgiveness.

Read Genesis 50:15-21

It’s this act of reconciliation that enables God’s people to move forward and flourish.  The opening verses of Exodus reveal we have moved from one family now to twelve and God’s people were “fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.”  These are the people that Moses will come to serve and lead back into freedom.  In their establishment and living into the promise that God has made, God’s people as a collective, are founded in this act of forgiveness within the family.  This is an essential piece of the identity that will serve God’s people in the journey ahead.

How might the witness of Joseph’s brothers be an encouragement to us today?  Their act of contrition enabled a reunion that led to the restoration of a family, the very embodiment of God’s promises.  But as hard as it was for the brothers to come forward, was it any easier for Joseph to forgive?  How about in your own story?  Is it easier to ask for forgiveness or to offer it?  This might be the wrong question altogether, for each broken relationship requires both if any mending is to take place.  The grace required in these moments is to anticipate what may be hard for you, might be even harder for the other.  Let’s pray for that kind of grace.

May God’s peace find you today.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray,

God of reconciliation, open our hearts and give us courage.  Help us to trust in your promises so that we might restore whatever we think might be lost.  Bless our efforts and may they be a witness to your faithfulness in us.  Give us the grace to understand and be patient with one another.  Amen.