“You shall be near to me…and…I will provide for you.” Ge 45:10-11 NKJV
Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers, he protected them from their worst nightmare—having to go back and tell their aging father what they‘d done twenty-two years earlier. Joseph is a step ahead of them; he tells them what to say and what not to say: “Go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph: God has made me lord of all Egypt; come…You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children…I will provide for you’” (vv. 9-11 NKJV). You say, “I think they should have been forced to confess what they’d done.” No, that would have given their father, Jacob, an even greater burden to bear—struggling with regret over his lost years with Joseph, not to mention having to fight bitterness toward his other sons. Joseph was wise. And it made his brothers respect him all the more. There’s a big difference between confessing and “dumping.” Irreparable damage can be done when you try to get relief by dumping the details of your guilt on somebody who can’t handle them. Sometimes confessing is the proper route, but only after talking with an experienced counselor. After David sinned with Bathsheba he wrote, “Against You [God], You only, have I sinned” (Ps 51:4 NKJV). When you consider that God knows all about your sin yet promises to keep it a closely guarded secret, it should: (1) increase your sense of humility and gratitude; (2) cause you to keep your mouth shut; (3) make you refuse to hold anybody else’s sins and shortcomings over their head.
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