Saturday, April 5, 2014

Genesis 45:4-8 -- On Letting Go of the Past

"And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt."
Genesis 45:4-8

The reunion scene between Joseph and his brothers is always amazing.  They talked about killing him, and they *did* sell him into slavery... and here Joseph tells them not to worry about it or to feel guilt over it, because it was God's plan.  Given, it has been many years and everyone has had a chance to adjust to life and to feel guilt and regret past choices, but still... that seems like a huge thing that he forgives them for.  And you can see and feel the hand of God in all of it... not only restoring Joseph to his family and fulfilling his visions of him ruling over his brothers, but saving his brothers as well, and giving them a chance at a life not always overshadowed by an unbelievably bad choice in the past.  God's resolutions are the best resolutions, because they cover everything and make everything work together again.
Of course, this doesn't make human trafficking okay, or mean that all of our sibling rivalry is inspired of God.  It almost definitely isn't.  But what it does mean is that we can all overcome the giant things in our pasts that weigh on our minds most heavily.  Whether we were the ones that were hurt or sold, or we were doing the hurting or selling... God has a resolution for us.  A happy ending.  A way for us to all be okay, and forgiven, and able to live with and love each other.  And if we work with God, we can at least get the forgiveness and love parts started.  The part where we're able to rejoice together is dependent on more than one person's free will... but if we get to the point where we can forgive and be forgiven, then we'll be ready if other people make the same choice.
Our pasts don't have to control or poison our present.  We're different.  We've all changed and hopefully improved.  Who we are *now* absolutely matters.  It doesn't absolve us of past actions... we still have to repent.  But the fact that we can do that means that those things can be taken out of the equation... that when we're ready, we can let them go, and just be who we are now.  And who we are now, and our current choices... that is what God looks at. He loves us, and wants to help us overcome not just our past mistakes, but our current ones.  Today, let's be like Joseph... willing to forgive, and to see God's hand in our lives.  No matter what the past was, let's repent and move on and care about each other now.

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