Before getting into the reading for today, please pray. Use the prayer below or other words to invite God into this time of reflection on His word. Dear God, Maker of heaven and earth,
I love you! I pour out my heart to you and I love you. I know you already know everything about me - every wound, every sin, every failure, and every thought. But I need to hear myself telling you that my heart belongs to you.
Thank you for loving me before time began. I love you, worship you, trust you. Thank you for this time of intentional connection with you. I ask you to speak to me through your Holy Word and help me to be a good listener.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!
18 On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. 20 But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.
21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”
22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.
24 He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.
I'm wondering what was going on in Joseph's mind as this reunion with his brothers was taking place. Did he have a plan or was he just winging it? How many times had he thought and wished for this day? Was he receiving pleasure in seeing his brothers squirm? Or was he in utter anguish, eager to reveal his true identity and restore his relationship with his brothers?
We have all been in similar situations. We have the chance to forgive someone and restore a relationship. How long do we wait? The lesson I receive from this account is that God is calling me to forgive, 100%, as soon as possible. To do anything less than that is to continue the pain and suffering that all parties experience when there is a lack of forgiveness. Think about how long it took for Jesus to forgive those who crucified him. The crucifixion wasn't even finished and Jesus is already asking, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".
What about you? Is there anyone out there who is waiting for you to fully and completely forgive them? If so, Jesus urges you to do it, NOW!!! He says, "Behold, I make all things new!".
May God grant you the strength and love to forgive as He has forgiven us!