15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
– Genesis 50:15-21 (NIV)
Joseph’s brothers feared him. In fact, they believed that Joseph would take revenge on them and seek payback for all that they had done to him. They even discussed it and sent word to Joseph via messenger.
When their message came to him, Joseph wept. (v. 17, NIV).
Joseph wept based upon their message. He reassured them and spoke kindly to them, according to verse 21. Joseph had said to them that he was in the place of God. He stated that he did not seek to harm them, even though they had harmed him. He shared that God used their evil intentions to accomplish His perfect will.
Joseph showed mercy. In fact, Joseph showed his brothers mercy on more than one occasion. He said that he was in the place of God, in a position to either harm them or help them. He chose to help them instead of seeking revenge upon them and exercising his authority as an Egyptian governmental official.
Take a moment today and see about ways to show mercy towards others. Do you have an opportunity to show mercy at work or home? Pray to the Lord for discernment in dealing with those who wrong you. Do all that you can to do like the Lord.