“Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.” – Genesis 50:20
By Rev Ajub Jahja, St Andrew’s Gardiner Uniting Church
People who have been hurt or disappointed by others are often given advice such as: “It will be better if you forget it. What has passed, let it pass. There’s no need to keep it in mind. It’s not worth remembering.”
Those all seem good and sound pieces of advice that surely are wise. However, they aren’t actually right.
The fact is we can’t forget the pain and bitterness we have experienced. We cannot remove from our memories all the bad experiences caused by others. They are a part of our history.
Rather than trying to forget it, what we should do is to remember those events in a new way. Not removing it from our memories, but interpreting it from the standpoint of our faith.
This is what Joseph did. He was once hated by his brothers. They persecuted and even sold him as a slave. He was then worked at Potiphar’s house, slandered by Potiphar’s wife, and finally, was unjustly imprisoned.
In the end, however, he became a very important person in Egypt.
Regardless of what they did to him, Joseph did not hate or hold grudges against his brothers. When they came to ask for help, Joseph accepted them with arms wide open. Keep in mind that, as Egypt’s second-in-command, he could have easily avenged his ill-treatment.
Joseph did not forget the bad deeds of his brothers. However, he saw them in a new way, from God’s perspective. Joseph said, “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.” Thus forgiveness happens.