Summary: Joseph’s godly example of forgiveness
The Forgiveness of Joseph
March 23, 2005
Center Point Baptist Church
At a convention with their wives, two businessmen who had been roommates in college crossed paths. They sat in the lobby all night talking. They knew they would be in trouble with their wives. The next day they happened to see each other. “What did your wife do?”
“I walked in the door and my wife got historical.”
“Don’t you mean hysterical?”
“No, I mean historical. She told me everything I ever did wrong.”
How important is it in the Christian life to be a forgiving person?
• It has been well said that only person injured by harboring an unforgiving attitude is that person himself.
Romans 12:20-21 – If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
• Forgiveness is the mark of a Christian life – if we love as Christ has loved, we cannot help but forgive.
• Forgiveness is contrary to the world’s way of thinking.
Forgiveness may break a cycle of retaliation and lead to reconciliation.
It can make the enemy feel ashamed and change their ways.
In contrast, returning evil for evil hurts you just as much as it hurts your enemy.
*Even if your enemy never repents, forgiving him or her will free you of bitterness.
• Forgiveness is an act of the will – it is either done or not done – on purpose!
*Joseph stands out as a man who was well aware of the grace of God – and in knowing this grace, could not help but forgive his brothers.
Read Genesis 50:15-21.
1.) The Pressure of Guilty Feelings
How does it feel when you know you’ve done wrong?
How does it feel when you’ve been caught in wrong-doing?
*Joseph’s brothers knew they were in the wrong – even after all these years – and they feared retaliation from Joseph.
- They were deserving of Joseph’s revenge.
- Joseph was able to carry out such revenge if he so desired.
*While their father was alive, they felt safe, but now they feared that Joseph would pay them back.
In your experience, how do feelings of guilt affect the life of any born-again believer?
What are some ways we can avoid having a guilty conscience?
• avoidance of sin
• repenting of sin – not just saying “sorry,” but making a change
Note: A guilty conscience exposes men to continual fear, and makes them suspicious of every body.
• Those that would be fearless must keep themselves guiltless.
How does Genesis 50:18 show the true repentance of the brothers?
• They approached him face to face.
• They humbled themselves.
• They pledged themselves to him.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – …if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2.) Able to Forgive
*Our passage tells us that Joseph wept when he heard these things – Why do you think he wept?
• because of his strong desire to be reconciled with his brothers and family
*Instead of showing anger and hostility, he told them to look to God for forgiveness:
Genesis 50:19 – Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?”
What bearing would an attitude of self-righteousness have on a believer’s ability to forgive?
• It will lead you away from showing forgiveness.
• It will make you just as bitter and hostile as the one who offended you!
*In showing a forgiving spirit, we show that we truly understand the grace of God!
Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
*Remember, God’s grace and forgiveness made our salvation possible!
Ephesians 1:7-8 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.