One of the most remarkable stories of forgiveness in the Bible occurs in Genesis 45:4-8 and Genesis 50:15-21, the story of Joseph forgiving his brothers. The story of Joseph (known to many who never read the Bible from the musical which focuses on his multi-coloured coat!) takes up a large part of the book of Genesis and gives us family rivalry and its consequences as well as showing us how Joseph’s integrity holds up under tremendous temptation and pressure, eventually leading to his political success in saving the world from famine. God’s presence with Joseph throughout all his trials reminds us that a life of faith won’t be trouble-free but will be part of a much bigger plan! It’s Joseph’s conviction that God is working for good in every situation that enables him to forgive his brothers for their part in his misery (selling him into slavery because of their jealousy when he was just a teenager.)
Joseph certainly had to work through anger and resentment before he could come to the place of lived forgiveness. No one should think that forgiveness is easy, but it is possible to forgive when we realise that what others mean for evil, God turns to good. Wherever we are on the journey of forgiveness, if we keep this fact (Gen 50:20) at the forefront of our minds, we will be given the grace to let go of the bitterness and resentment and move forward.