I don’t know that I fully comprehended what was going on at the time. I think that’s often the case when you’re blindsided. But I do know that from time to time I still get angry at what I consider to have been injustice against me.
There are times when I want the people who I believe sinned against me to be held accountable for their actions. This is the biblical notion of justice..However, it very easily becomes vengeance coupled with unforgiveness.
As I was reading Genesis 50:15-21 this morning I was again reminded of God’s sovereignty. I’m not exactly sure how he did it, or how long it took him to get to this point, but God’s grace brought Joseph to a point where his own just suffering led him to not only forgive those who wronged him (his own brothers) but speak kindly, all the while seeing the sovereignty of God in the situation.
Joseph’s brothers on the other hand were afraid that Joseph, like other men (once the protective hand of their father Jacob, was removed due to his death), would unleash not only his wrath but the wrath of all of Egypt against them (Joseph was the second most powerful man of this great nation).
This fear of vengeance (fear of man) has led many a man to preempt the feared vengeance by acting first. Blood feuds have raged for hundreds of years due to this.
And this is where the grace of God enters the picture for the child of God. Though the Joseph story is not really about Joseph (it is about God fulfilling his promise to Abraham to create a people living in his place in his presence) we do learn something of the work of God in a man’s life from this passage.
Might we all learn to be quick to hear, slow to speak and ready to forgive those who have wronged us. Might we be part of the pipeline that the gospel of the kingdom of God flows through to all the nations of the world and not part of the virus of vengeance circulating in the world.