May 2, 2022

Forgiveness Offers Sweet Relief

Written by Boyd Bailey

Love is willing to do the hard work of entering into the relational mess, not having to be right, but with humility and empathy, making things right.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 2, 2022

So they came to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “I beg you, forgive the injustice of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.’ ” Now, forgive the injustice of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Genesis 50:16-17

If anyone ever had the right to play the unforgiveness card, Joseph did. In their jealous rage he was rejected, left for dead and sold as a slave by his brothers. He truly experienced the injustice of a victim from those who were supposed to love him the most. Deserted and estranged by his brothers, Joseph might have prayed, “Lord where are you, is this really your plan?” Relationally dead to his family, would Joseph attack in angry retaliation or quietly cut off his offenders with a good riddance goodbye or choose to take God’s less traveled road of relational repair? The warm flow of Joseph’s tears offered loving relief to his brothers’ cold hearts caged by fear.

Relationships are the Lord’s laboratory where we experiment in how to love well. Deceived, some followers of Jesus stay imprisoned in emotional pain, explaining away relational pain by thinking but never  verbalizing, that the other person just needs to get over their hurt and forgive. Or, with false spirituality, one fails to acknowledge any relational fracture and lives in denial while the other person slowly drifts away. Love is willing to do the hard work, entering into the relational mess, not having to be right, but with humility and empathy working to make things right. Like Jesus, Joseph forgave his brothers because he trusted that God had a bigger purpose. Love does not deny the pain, but instead weeps with offenders freely giving comfort, forgiveness and healing. 

“Joseph lovingly assured his brothers: ‘Do not be afraid, for I belong to God. But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your households.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke to their heart” (Genesis 50:19-21).

Pain causes a good person to lose perspective. He may be hypersensitive to rejection ever since the friend who was his greatest fan became his most outspoken critic. A person, who in God’s design was meant to offer the most life-giving relationship, became the most life-draining, so all other relationships tend to skew toward suspicion. Like Joseph, we can all grow our empathy and forgiveness by providing a safe environment of acceptance and understanding for a wounded heart. Picture the leg of an innocent deer clamped by a metal bear trap, what’s needed is a gentle extraction, a resetting of the bone with ongoing care. Love feels pain and offers relief.

Is a subtle anger or not so subtle resentment simmering in your heart? The anger of man does not result in the righteousness of God. There’s a bad belief that concludes: “If things are not going right or my way, I just need to blow up so at least I’ll have everyone’s attention at work, home or both. Later I can ask forgiveness since I’m under grace.” Which is true—and  may work in the short term, but what about the relational and emotional fall out? What if there’s a better way? As relationships are nurtured in the long term, sustainable results are accomplished, and everyone—especially God, is honored by the process. Forgiveness is anger’s sweet relief! 

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:13-14, ESV).


Heavenly Father, I stand in awe and gratitude for your lovingkindness and generous forgiveness, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Who needs my assurance of mercy and forgiveness, so he can be set free from pain and guilt?

Related Reading

Psalm 86:5; Matthew 6:14, Luke 6:37; Ephesians 4:32

Worship Resource

Casting Crowns: The Power of the Cross


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