“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” (Genesis 50:15)
Immediately upon revealing himself, Joseph has forgiven his brothers for treating him badly and for selling him as a slave. He even said that it was God who was behind all this, and that He had made everything good. He invited his brothers to move to Egypt and provided them with food and with a place to live. What more could he have done to ‘prove’ his love and forgiveness?!
And yet, when father Jacob dies about 17 years later, the brothers fear that Joseph will take his opportunity to pay them back for the evil they have done to him. For all these years, they have not really accepted his forgiveness! They are still feeling guilty and they are still expecting Joseph’s wrath. That’s a tragedy on its own, on top of all the sorrow and pain this family has gone through already.
Joseph has forgiven his brothers completely and treated them generously. When he hears that they still have not accepted his forgiveness, he weeps. It hurts badly if people who you love, don’t trust you in the end and think your forgiveness is just a facade till you have the opportunity to take revenge.
Think a moment how this must be for God. He has gone so far as to give his own beloved Son so that sinful humans could receive forgiveness. And yet, many people reject his forgiveness or don’t really trust Him to keep his promises.
Do you accept God’s forgiveness wholeheartedly?