Go ahead. Go ahead and tell Joseph, “All you need to do is forgive your brothers. If you’d just forgive your brothers, then everything will be fine.”
We say it and infer it all the time. In fact, that seems to be a mantra of the church for the last 30ish years if my memory serves me well.
Every time someone is plunged into a situation that is over his or her head, we rehearse the message of forgiveness. Sometimes it is the way that we can gain the moral high ground. “Well, brother you know that you need to forgive.”
The problem? The counsel is correct, and yes you do, but for different reasons than you might think. There are plenty of high grounders that are ready to let you know that you need to and it will make them very satisfied if you do.
But, that is not all that needs to happen. If I am correct, there are at least four more ‘key’ factors in moving on and growing in your relationships and your faith walk.
I was told the other day that the most important thing that Christians need to do is to learn how to forgive. I responded that I think that it is the second most important thing to do.
I believe that the most important is to take personal responsibility for the situation, if it applies, and it doesn’t always. But, if it applies then I believe the very first thing that we need to do is own our stuff.
Thirteen years is a long time to process. Joseph was forced to take that time. He was an excellent servant in all his circumstances, but I have a hunch that he also processed the key factors.
I am quite convinced:
Joseph owned his stuff
Joseph accepted what was going on
Joseph knew that evil was at play
Joseph knew that God was at work
They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the Lord proved him true. (Psalm 105:18-19, NIV)
You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!