Joseph knew his family’s dysfunction, his brother’s propensity to lie and deceive. He knew that they only lived for their agenda. He didn’t know that it had changed.
Families play games.
My wife and I do, but we do it on purpose, with our kids now adults, and with delightful intent. We’ve done it their whole lives. For the most part, they loved it! How do I know? I told them so. Ha.
It’s the family games that everyone denies that has me greatly concerned. In fact, they aren’t games at all; they could more accurately be called deceptions, family code, and elephants in the room.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s the demand that you fit into your role when you are with the family, the way that you act when your buttons get pushed; and no one can push your buttons like your parents and siblings. It’s the stuff no one will talk about, but everyone knows it’s there. And, you and your family do it every time!
Enter Joseph. Joseph was thirteen plus years removed from the family dysfunction, game, code, and he had to know if the code was still in play. He went to quite some length to make sure things had changed. Joseph tested his brother’s in their most vulnerable spot. He for lack of a better term pushed their buttons. Any future with them, had they not changed, would not have been pretty.
Joseph was satisfied to the depth of his emotions that change had come. What a delightful moment.
Thirteen years had taken its toll on the brothers, on Jacob, their father, as well as on Joseph. The brothers had come to realize that their shameful behavior had cost their family deeply.
They came forward and owned their stuff.
This action gives us an awesome picture of repentance. It was almost that the brothers were getting in line to say, “If there is any blame here it is to fall on me, I’m the one.”
Whether they grew into this or got forced into this through circumstances, they owned it.
In absolute humility they prepared for their fate, they couldn’t expect anything else.
This moment overwhelmed Joseph. I don’t think he could have hoped for such a spectacular outcome. Spectacular happens when such depth and hurt get healed.
So in this story, we see a beautiful picture of repentance and forgiveness. One is not complete without the other.
So this begs the questions?
What do you have to own?
What do you have to forgive?