“It was not you who sent me here, but God.” Genesis 45:8
How was Joseph able to forgive his brothers? And how can you forgive like this when you have been wounded and hurt like he was? How did he get to the place where he could put everything behind him and reconcile with his brothers?
Notice Joseph speaks one time about what the brothers did, and four times about what God did. “I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into Egypt” (45:4). He says it, as he must, because reconciliation does not avoid the reality of what has happened. But that’s not the focus. He says it one time, and then he speaks four times about what God has done.
“Do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (45:5).
“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors” (45:7).
“It was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:8).
“Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt’” (45:9).
When Jesus suffered, He did not focus on what Judas or Pilate had done. He said, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (Jn. 18:11). Christ looked beyond the secondary causes and discerned how God was at work. That is how He was able to forgive.
How do you get to a place where you are ready to forgive? You look beyond the secondary causes. You look beyond what another person has done. You focus on how the gracious and loving hand of God has been at work in your life. That’s how you get to forgiveness.
Who are you having difficulty forgiving? What if you were to focus on (but not ignore) how the gracious and loving hand of God is at work in your life, instead of on the evil that this person has done to you?