Please do the study True Freedom before reading these insights so you can share your own insights in the comment section. All passages of Scripture are fully quoted in the study. Gail
1. Forgiveness is easier when we see the offense as a part of God’s plan for our lives...What aspects of Joseph's narrative below are especially incredible to you?
Genesis 50:15-21: While I can't prove my "theory," I believe that Joseph's brothers never really repented for what they did to Joseph.
I know they asked forgiveness in these verses, and in Genesis 42:21-22 they expressed regret. But it seems that their concern both times was for themselves, not their sin.
Nor is there proof that they ever repented to Jacob or that Jacob even knew about their sin against Joseph. Did he really write this letter, or was it just another deception of Joseph's brothers? If Jacob had known about their mistreatment of Joseph, why didn't he mention it in his final words to his sons recorded in detail in Genesis 49?
I believe Joseph's kindness toward his brothers is all the more incredible because they never genuinely repented or tried to restore their relationship with him. If they'd repented, they'd have known that Joseph was a man of forgiveness long before their father's death. Perhaps this is why Joseph wept in verse 17--because he longed for their sincere repentance with all of his heart but realized this was just another deception.
2. Forgiveness is choosing to trust God's mysterious truth instead of our human reasoning.
Proverbs 3:5-6: It is hard to overcome our "human understanding (i.e. misunderstanding) and trust God. And it's harder when we surround ourselves by worldly influences and worldly-minded people that "agree" with our misunderstandings. Our influences (friendships, entertainment, reading material) bend us toward God's truth or away from it.
3. God always calls us beyond ourselves and our own strength.
Romans 12:14-21: I have been greatly inspired by Christians like James Bain, Corrie Ten Boom and Robert Sadler who lived these verses despite great suffering.