What an amazing man Joseph was. Though his brothers had treated him worse than an enemy, his love for them had grown. When he sent his brothers back with the grain, he returned their money and gave them all the provisions they required. Were the brothers grateful? No, they just felt an even greater sense of guilt.
The whole episode was repeated on the second journey when Joseph schemed to see and spend time with his only close brother, Benjamin. When the other brothers vehemently objected, Joseph revealed his true identity.
Yes, he began by telling them that he was the one they sold into slavery, but quickly added a merciful rider – Don’t be distressed or angry with yourselves, because God sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives through a great deliverance. No malice, no retribution, no sarcastic digs – just a statement of faith and fact.
He didn’t pretend they hadn’t meant to do him harm, he didn’t sweep their betrayal under the carpet; he acknowledged it in front of them but gave them hope by showing a new perspective. You didn’t send me here, God did. Yes, they got rid of him but the rest of it was God’s plan. God orchestrated the journey to Egypt because He had a bigger plan. Their plan was mean and selfish; God’s was full of grace.
Joseph was able to see the bigger picture because he was free from guilt, jealousy, malice, hatred and determined retribution. He had committed his life to God, so he was in God’s hands every step of the way. It wasn’t easy, many times it wasn’t pleasant, but through it all, he determined it was God’s plan and he would walk in it with a gratitude attitude.
He stood tall as Prime Minister only after standing tall as a slave and prisoner. His back was not bent with the baggage of the past. He looked into the face of God and saw reflected back one of His children. That gave him the confidence to face the present and the future with resolution and hope, no matter what the circumstances were that he would have to pass through on his journey to reach his destiny.
When you are faced with your adversary, how do you react? We all need to remember that, as the old saying goes – there but for the grace of God go I. We are all imperfect beings with selfish agendas. Try to remember that and give grace wherever and whenever needed. You might need it too, one day.