Sermon – February 15, 2015

Dysfunctional Families of the Old TestamentForgiving the Unforgivable“, by Rev. Mike Holly

Sermon Series: Dysfunctional Families of the Old Testament

Forgiveness is an essential life skill. We cannot make it through life without being able to forgive for if we do not, we will eventually find ourselves alone. The story of Joseph and his brothers demonstrates how life creates opportunities for families to wound one another. Joseph takes a few missteps before finally offering forgiveness to his brothers. And the Bible tells us that their reunion leads to prosperity, at least for a while, for them and their descendants.

In our own families, we will from time to time be wounded by those who love us. Sometimes it is for the actions they took against us or the words that they spew at us. Other times, it is the things that they have not done. And finally, there are those terrible, almost unspeakable, things that family members do that seem almost unforgivable.

How do we go about forgiving the unforgivable? And how do we make sure that forgiveness is constructive — healing all members of the family in the process? The story of reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers will help us ponder these questions.

~Mike Holly

The Word

Genesis 45:1-15

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

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