Genesis 50:19 – But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?…”
There is a great book on forgiveness that focuses on the story of Joseph. I read Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall in one of the most difficult seasons of my life and it was a tremendous ministry to my soul. Some years later, I had the honor of meeting R.T. and I will never forget a conversation we once had at his home. After some hours of discussing theology and sharing stories, he started sharing the story of Joseph as perhaps the second greatest story of forgiveness after that of Jesus Christ. He explained that the only reason Joseph could lead and love at such a high level is because of the depth of forgiveness he had extended throughout his life. Had Joseph not invited the Holy Spirit to unburden and emotionally heal him, he would have remained a bitter and broken believer. Furthermore, he would not have been ready for the task of leading a nation and saving his family from famine.
The testimony of Joseph is that the most important thing any believer has is the anointing and powerful favor of God’s providence over and presence in our lives. His anointing is more valuable than any wealth or wisdom, power or prestige. Joseph lost everything but one thing. He lost his nation, father, brothers, family, freedom, reputation, and decades of his life. He did not, however, lose his anointing. God’s anointing was so great on Joseph because his forgiveness was so deep. When R.T. explained this to me with great passion and enthusiastic joy, it opened a liberating and life-changing insight. People who go through the worst pain are positioned by God to experience the strongest anointing if they invite the Holy Spirit to help them forgive and walk in integrity through injustice, evil, and pain. This is doubly true when the wounds come from our family as they did for Joseph.
In the closing scene of Joseph’s testimony, his brothers are fearful that he will punish them in bitterness. It says in Genesis 50:19-21, “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
You know you have forgiven someone when you can bless them, R.T said in our conversation. This is precisely how God treats us; although we have sinned against Him, our Lord not only forgives us, but also blesses us.
Who has forgiven you that you are thankful you can still have a relationship with?