Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Joseph - Rev Sherill Clontz
Today’s story doesn’t sound like a dirty, rotten, scoundrel does it? But that is the end of Joseph’s story; you need to check out the beginning. Joseph is a smart aleck, smarmy son who lords it over everyone. He is a brat, a braggart and his father’s favorite. Joseph doesn’t mind rubbing all this in every chance he gets. Finally his brothers snap and are willing to either kill him or sell him into slavery. They just want him gone!
The next part of Joseph’s story is the first reality television show; maybe we should call it “The Real Housewives of Egypt.” Joseph refuses the attention of his slave holding owner’s wife and then he’s thrown in jail. But then God says dream a little dream with me and Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams saves him and raises him to a position of power second only to Pharaoh.
Fast forward: Joseph’s brothers show up and he tricks them by hiding a valuable item in the luggage; payback is always tempting. But when Joseph hears his brothers begging for Benjamin’s life and sees his father again, he reveals his own transformation. Joseph had every reason to hate his brothers, but he chose to forgive them. His choice reminds us of God’s choice; every single time God forgives. God forgives David for his infidelity and God forgives the nation of Israel for their infidelity. Then God in Jesus even forgives those who crucified him. God forgives us all and those who follow Christ are called to forgive.
When we refuse to forgive; when we hold onto our hurts and our pain, we are still in prison just like Joseph. But Joseph discovered just as we must discover that we are never truly free until we let go of the bitterness and the resentment. There was hope for Joseph, for his brother and that means there is hope for us.