Test the Taste
Loving Lord, You are with me: Father, Son, and Spirit, three in one. Be my strength and hope today.
Read Genesis 42:25-38
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matt. 5:7). We are called to reflect God’s mercy to us in all our relationships.
Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf has explored deeply the theology of forgiveness and reconciliation. His book Exclusion and Embrace grew out of his own experience of the brutal wars that engulfed the Balkans after the collapse of communism. In the introduction he writes: “After I finished my lecture, Professor Jürgen Moltmann stood up and asked one of his typical questions, both concrete and penetrating: ‘But can you embrace a Chetnick?’ It was the winter of 1993. For months now the notorious Serbian fighters called “Chetnicks” had been sowing desolation in my native country, herding people into concentration camps, raping women, burning down churches and destroying cities. I had just argued that we ought to embrace our enemies as God has embraced us in Christ. Can I embrace a Chetnick – the ultimate other, so to speak, the evil other? What would justify the embrace? Where would I draw the strength for it? What would it do to my identity as a human being and as a Croat?”
The dilemma of Genesis 42 is the same: Can Joseph forgive his brothers? The drama is heightened by the fact that he does not do so immediately. He is gripped by emotion and faced with choosing between the twin possibilities of revenge and reconciliation. The elaborate charade he comes up with buys him time and tests his brothers: will they abandon the hostage Simeon, as they abandoned him? Joseph is not ready to take revenge on his brothers, but he is not ready to forgive them, either. Even in the test, he cannot bear to take their money. He returns it to them, without explanation. He is confused, but even now grace is surfacing in him. We who have followed his journey wait for the answer. Can Joseph forgive? Can grace overcome the stubbornness and hatred of men?
Are there people who have offended you, hurt you or let you down? If the tables were turned and you had power over them, what would you do?
Father, You’ve been merciful to me beyond measure! Grant me a merciful heart that I may honor You in all my relationships.
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