I adore this moment! Joseph just couldn’t contain himself any longer. Consider all the time he had spent with his brothers while keeping the secret of who he really was to himself. It must have been incredibly difficult. I wonder how he knew that this was the right moment to make the big reveal? Did God nudge him or did his heart just finally bust? After all, he had waited so long to find out about his father and restore his family after he saw the hearts of his brothers had changed.
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. (v. 1-3)
Notice, that after Joseph reveals himself, his brothers are terrified. Can you blame them? They did leave him for dead in a desert well about 22 years ago. But look at Joseph’s response.
Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward, his brothers talked with him. (v. 14-15)
As my son would say in a fun accent, “Vwait, Vwhat?”
Seriously, if I had a quarter for every time I have said, “Please treat people how you want to be treated – NOT how they treat you.” to my children, I would have enough money to dig twenty wells in Africa. You may say this as often as I do, however, my question for us today is do we live this out? And if so, how? It’s so easy to say these words until someone drives by you, blares his horn and gives you the lift of the third finger from your pinky or thumb. It’s effortless to remind our children or friend when they are in a situation where someone has wronged them to turn the other cheek, but it’s altogether different when we have to harness the anger and do good back to the one who has harmed us.
This is a muscle that needs constant exercising in my own life. I’ve discovered that only God can harness evil and that includes the evil in our own hearts, not just the evil in others. It’s incredible to see how Joseph illustrated this with the forgiveness and love he offered his brothers.
It is God’s power, God’s strength, God’s mercy, God’s love, God’s patience, God’s courage and God’s grace that give us the ability to always seek to do good to everyone (despite their actions), not our own. I’m living proof God can get in a heart, stir things up and revise it to more like His. This isn’t easy. In fact, it can be downright painful sometimes. I know loving EVERYONE will continue to become a challenge with each day I wake. Especially as my children grow up and face more trials and evil that I want to protect them from and respond to, but I’m praying I don’t lose sight of the fact that by standing firm and keeping a strong grip on Christ, there is “wonderful hope”, that I will continue to respond in love. Trusting God to handle all the rest.
I want to leave you with these beautiful words that Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.
Now may the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.