When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully pay us back for all of the evil which we did to him.” They sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father commanded before he died, saying, ‘You shall tell Joseph, “Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore don’t be afraid. I will nourish you and your little ones.” He comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.
It’s amazing how long guilt can affect a person. It proves that going against your conscience is not worth it! After all this time, and after all that Joseph had already said and done, his brothers were still afraid that he would get them back for what they did to him. It broke his heart to see them suffering with this guilt.
God doesn’t want you and I to suffer with guilt anymore. It is true that we were guilty, but because Jesus died to take the punishment for our guilt, we should stop being guilty and trust that God is no longer holding it against us.
Notice how Joseph answered his brothers. He explains that he is not in the place of God. How I wish that leaders today would think like Joseph! God tells us that He is the one who is to take revenge. We are not to do it ever. We have no authority to do it because we are all sinners. If God tells someone to do his work of punishment that is very different, but that us usually done through governments and according to law. This is one of the things that a Christian republic keeps people safe from. This is probably why so many presidents of the United States lived out this kind of leadership. Only God can properly give out revenge.
Finally, notice that Joseph told them that even though they intended to harm him, God intended to use the whole thing for good. In fact, He ended up saving His chosen people along with the Egyptians. Joseph told them that He would continue to nourish them and their little ones. That is the kind of leadership we need to have and live today.