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Forgiving Yourself: Teacher Joseph, Part 9

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Forgiveness, Guilt, Humility, Reconcilliation, Teacher Joseph

Joseph’s repentant brothers have received nothing but trouble from the hand of this Egyptian Governor. I can feel their anguish as they ask themselves what the consequence of that gold cup that was found in Benjamin’s grain sack will be. Imagine their utter shock when, after pleading for the life of their younger brother, this vicious governor commands everyone but Jacob’s sons to leave the room: “Make everyone go out from me!” (Genesis 45:1b NKJV)! I can almost hear their knees knocking together. What kind of new evil did this relentless, accusing man have for them now?

Then Joseph spoke: “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” (Genesis 45:3b NKJV)

This should have been good news, right? I mean, not only has this man finally stopped accusing them, but the Bible records that Joseph actually shows great emotion: “And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it.” (Genesis 45:2b NKJV).

The reaction of the 11 brothers, however, is not one of relief: “But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.” (Genesis 45:3c NKJV).

You can’t blame them, really. After having been bullied by this man, he now claims to be their lost brother. It must have been pretty hard for them to believe.

And even if they had managed to believe it, the thought would have really disturbed them. I mean, if this really was Joseph, then he would have had good reason to have punished them for what they had done to him. All of those previous acts of bullying were nothing compared to what they deserved – and expected – to receive from Joseph.

Joseph did offer assurance, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5 NKJV); but it doesn’t appear that the brothers believed they were forgiven. Years later, when Jacob died, the Bible records that, “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.’” (Genesis 50:15 NKJV).

That is the response of guilt, friends. When we have done something very bad, we tend to – and should! – feel guilty. But when the time comes that we confess our guilt, even when forgiveness is offered, we tend to reject it, choosing instead to live in our guilt and shame. How much happier Joseph’s brothers would have been if they had only accepted Joseph’s forgiveness when he first offered it to them; if they had in turn forgiven themselves!

And how much more joy we would have in our own hearts if we would accept Jesus’ forgiveness of our sins, and if we would then go on to forgive ourselves!

Think about it: The brothers’ refusal to accept Joseph’s forgiveness was in essence saying that Joseph’s forgiveness wasn’t enough to take away their guilt and shame. And this is the same message we give to God when we refuse to forgive ourselves. We are in essence saying that God’s forgiveness isn’t enough.

But it is enough. Let’s remember the following Words of Truth:

1. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12 NKJV)

2. “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.’” (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

3. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV)

4. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV)

God’s forgiveness is so big that He actually forgets. He removes our sins as far from as the east is from the west, and He cleanses us until we once again shine forth perfect. That’s a lot bigger than any forgiveness I could ever dish out!

Perhaps we should renounce our guilt, forgive ourselves, and accept the forgiveness that God offers us through Jesus Christ. For when we do, we will no longer be chained to our guilt as Joseph’s brothers were, and there will be absolutely no reason to fear!

In His love,

Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer ministries

(To access the entire “Teacher Joseph” mini-series, click here!)