Saturday 20 March
Often forgiveness is a step towards something greater: relational reconciliation. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12.18). However, as this verse implies, relational reconciliation isn’t always possible. Sometimes the other person isn’t interested. In some cases (like when a person has been abused and the abuser shows no signs of change) it isn’t advisable. In those cases, do get help as you go on a journey of forgiveness, while also putting up clear boundaries.
Joseph’s story (Genesis chapters 37 and 39 to 46) is a powerful example of reconciliation. Having been abused and sold into slavery by his brothers. Yet, at the highpoint of the drama, he is able to forgive them, having seen his brothers’ repentance, and they reconcile. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50.19-20). This story contains several key wisdom principles:
(1) Be reconciled to the right people. Be prayerful in who you undertake reconciliation with.
(2) Be reconciled at the right time. Joseph waited for two long years to see whether his brothers’ repentance was genuine. When the offence is major, it is best to proceed with caution. At other times, when the issue is minor, it is best to seek reconciliation quickly.
(3) Be reconciled in the right context. When Joseph made himself known to his brothers, he did it in person and in private – too much is done hastily and online today.
(4) Be reconciled with the right attitude. Joseph was ready for reconciliation at this point – free from bitterness and revenge. We need to go on a journey of forgiveness if we want to see lasting reconciliation.
> Is there anyone you need to be reconciled to? Pray that God will turn harmful situations into good, just as he did for Joseph. If you are unsure how to proceed, talk to a wise and trusted friend or mentor.