Daily Devotional

Forgive Your Family

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Scripture:  And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him. 51Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” 52And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”  Genesis 41:50-52

Observation: After Joseph gave Pharaoh what God meant for him to know about the future of Egypt, Pharaoh elevated Joseph to second in the kingdom.  It was at this time, and as a result of that famine, that Jacob sent ten of his sons, except for Benjamin, to find food to ensure the survival of his family.  Joseph recognized them immediately, and tested them to see if they maintained or abandoned their feelings of rivalry and jealousy amongst themselves.  It is in the midst of this story that we learn the Pharaoh gave a wife to Joseph and that Joseph had two sons through her, sons whose names reflect Joseph’s emotional  journey from member of the family, to slave, to second in the kingdom, and now seeing his family again.  This is not just a physical journey but also a very heavy emotional and spiritual one which led him to experience not only the love of his father and the hatred of his brothers, but lust from Potiphar’s wife, which caused his second imprisonment, to being loved as a child by Pharaoh.  In more ways than one, this was also a journey Joseph needed to take, a journey of forgiveness.

Application: Louis Smedes speaks of forgiveness as a journey which involves several steps including hurt, hatred, and finally healing.  Joseph was obviously hurt by the feelings and actions of his brothers, and later Potiphar’s wife and the Pharaoh’s butler in forgetting him in prison.  While we’re not told, Joseph’s hurt feelings might have caused some anger at some point in time, whether he voiced it or not.  But he didn’t allow those feelings to linger long and by the time he has children he has completed this journey and the names of his children reflect the healing that has taken place.
     In marriage, in families, forgiveness must be an integral part because conflict is inevitable and will cause hurt at some point or another.  The difference between a relationship that survives and one that breaks apart is the ability to go through this journey of forgiveness so that healing may take place and thus the healthy intimacy may be restored and the relationship may flourish and thrive into the next generations.

A Prayer You May Use: Father, help us to take this journey of forgiveness as soon after any hurt takes place so that our relationships may not suffer but that healing and growth may happen quickly and we may return to the intimacy You designed for us to have at home.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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