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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Genesis 45:3–11, 15

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. (NRSV)

If we backtrack from today’s passage, we can recall Joseph being gifted a beautiful, fancy robe from his father. We remember the dreams that he had, in which his brothers bowed down to him. We also remember Joseph being sold by his brothers, out of their jealousy and rage.

Now let’s fast-forward back to today’s passage. Joseph comes across his brothers and tells them not to be distressed or angry with themselves over what they did to him in the past. Talk about some incredible forgiveness! I don’t know about you, but I would have a tough time doing that if I had gone through what Joseph experienced because of his brothers. I have found it difficult to forgive others for much smaller offenses, and I’m sure some of you have, too.

This Bible lesson reminds us that some family relationships are very troubled, and the lack of forgiveness can tear them apart. From as far back as I can remember, my grandmother refused to talk to any extended family and would only communicate with my immediate family. I have no idea what the fallout was between her and her siblings and cousins (who all are or were wonderful, funny, and loving people). They would call my mom frequently to see how my grandma was, what she was up to, and if there was any way they could reconnect. My grandmother passed away about fifteen years ago, and sadly those relationships were never healed. This lesson, however, shows us that even in a deeply troubling family situation, forgiveness and healing are possible. Joseph was able to forgive—and we can, too.

Patient and forgiving God, help us to mend broken relationships. Give us the strength, the patience, and the love to forgive others. Amen.

Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator

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