There are so many situations in which we can annoy one another. Mostly they’re small things that can be resolved with a bit of common sense and humility. If not they can turn into bigger ones that can easily turn into bitterness and anger. If they are not dealt with they can quickly ruin friendships, marriages, families, workplaces, and even churches. Many a believer has become powerless and stymied in their fellowship with God and his people and become ineffective in service because of unresolved relationship conflicts. Dealing with these kinds of fractures is probably the hardest thing that most of us have to face in our lives. And yet it is most necessary for us to do if we are to live at peace and be a blessing to those around us and point them to Jesus.
As Christians we, of all the people on the face of the earth, have the best chance of working at reconciliation. The first big reason is that we ourselves have been reconciled to God. The war between us and God is over – He has forgiven us for all our wrongdoing and brought us into a close relationship with himself. That should (and does) free us to do the same for those who have wronged us.
The second big reason is that we have so many examples of people who have done it – in Scripture and down through church history. (Joseph, Stephen, and the ultimate example – Jesus). This should inspire and encourage us that it is possible.
The third big reason is that we have God’s Holy Spirit living in us to empower us to forgive and to love those who wrong us.
As we consider Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers let’s allow God to work in us so that the way we live and relate to one another and our friends, family and colleagues might show the reconciling love of Jesus to those who are hungry for such grace and mercy.