November 13, 2022
Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement
Is there a way to get justice without getting revenge?
Genesis 42:6-7 NIV
"Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. 'Where do you come from?' he asked. 'From the land of Canaan,' they replied, 'to buy food.'"
Genesis 42:8-9 NIV
"Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, 'You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.'"
This is a test moment, and Joseph has the choice to exact revenge or show mercy.
Genesis 42:21-22 NIV
"They said to one another, 'Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that's why this distress has come on us.' Reuben replied, 'Didn't I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn't listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.'"
Does this confession equal repentance?
2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
"The idea that sin is grievous to God also has profound practical implications for people who want to change their lives and habits. If you say, "I must stop doing this thing because it will get me into trouble," then you are not really sorry for the sin itself but for the consequences or results of the sin. You are not sorry primarily because it grieved God but because it grieved you or others. This means that as soon as your sinful habit stops causing trouble for you, you will stop causing trouble to it. But if you recognize and feel poignantly what your sin is doing to God, you will have a deeper and more permanent motivation to turn away from the sin itself." - Timothy Keller, Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I?
Can I show mercy, even if I'm not sure if it's Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow?
Genesis 42:24 NIV
"He turned away from them and began to weep but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes."
Genesis 43:30 NIV
"Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there."
Genesis 45:1-2 NIV
"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 reveals God's heart for complete forgiveness.
Luke 23:32-34 NIV
"Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots."
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'"
Genesis 45:3 NIV
"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."
Genesis 45:4 NIV
"Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!"
Genesis 45:5 NIV
"And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you."
Genesis 45:6 NIV
"For two years now, there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years, there will be no plowing and reaping."
Genesis 45:7 NIV
"But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance."
Genesis 45:8, 11 NIV
"So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, Lord of his entire household, and ruler of all Egypt. I will provide for you there because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise, you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute."
Genesis 45:14-15 NIV
"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."
Genesis 45:18 NIV
"and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you can enjoy the fat of the land."
"The Hebrew word used is nasah, one with the sense of sending sin away so that the forgiver no longer counts it against the perpetrator. While Joseph does not say, literally, "I forgive you," he nevertheless responds by rejecting vengeance, and pledges love to them—a crucial element in forgiveness." - Timothy Keller, Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I?
True forgiveness comes as a "pay-it-forward" experience.
Matthew 18:32-35 NIV
"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. 'This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.'"
"Forgiveness gets down to the bottom of things—to the alienation we feel from God and from ourselves because of our wrongdoing. Jesus was saying: 'I want to show you that the deepest need of your nature is for me. Only I can bestow perfect love, new identity, endless comfort, hope, and glory. And the doorway into all of that is to know forgiveness. It's time to open that door and walk through it.'" - Timothy Keller, Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I?