Forgiving My Brother
Relationships are “messy”–People hurt you. I have often had to forgive those who wronged me. I know I’m the only one here who has had a hard time forgiving, right?! You’ve never needed to forgive your spouse, kids, co-worker, an elder or fellow church member, right?
How do we forgive the deepest hurts? Fortunately, we have good examples of forgiveness in Scripture. Jesus on the cross: “Father, forgive them.” Jesus to Peter: “Feed my sheep.” Jesus to Paul. Today, we wish to focus on Joseph and his example.
Before we go there, however, we need to lay some good groundwork.
- Why do I need to forgive my brother? Some will immediately say, “Jesus says so!” That’s right!
- “If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14-15).
- “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven’” (Matt 18:21-22).
- But, why would my brother sin against me? SIN. At its root, all sin is selfishness: “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (Js 1:14). Notice what letter the word sin has in the middle!Sin forever changed human relationships (Gen 3:16-19).
- Woman: Her relationship with her children begins with increased pain, and her desire shall be for her husband and he shall rule over her.
- Man: Must work by the sweat of his brow; therefore, he won’t have as much time with the family.
If any one person in the family sins, that sin affects all other people in the unit. How do we keep sin from consuming us?
Remember all that Joseph endured: He was sold as a slave, tempted by Potiphar’s wife, thrown into prison, and the cupbearer forgets him
Yet, Joseph honored God. Genesis 42:18-20. “Fear God” means “Honor God.” How can honoring God help us forgive?
Joseph loved his brothers. “He turned away from them and wept” (Gen 42:24). “Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there” (Gen 43:30).
What is true love? How did God love us? How do we need to love? How can loving others help us forgive them?
Joseph served his brothers. Genesis 43:16-34. In what way(s) did Joseph serve his brothers? How can serving those who have wronged us help us forgive?
Joseph knew that God had a plan. Genesis 45:1-5. What did God do because Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery? Can God bring good out of even the worst circumstances? How might that knowledge help us forgive?