So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
What horrible atrocities were committed against Joseph by his own family. He was lied on, verbally abused, treated with disdain and contempt and then marginalized, all because of jealousy. His death at the hands of his blood relatives was discussed and plotted. Ultimately he was betrayed, physically abused, cast into a pit and sold into slavery.
Yet many years down the road when his brothers asked for forgiveness, Joseph wept and forgave them.
In 1 Samuel 14:7 the same word for forgiveness, in the original language, is translated as armourbearer.
And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. Jonathan’s armourbearer said, in so many words, go up the hill to the battle, I’m going with you.
So forgiveness is an armourbearer to us. When the Lord forgives us initially and daily, His forgiveness and presence in our life is an armourbearer with every weapon I have need of for the battles I will face. This armourbearer went in front of Israel and led her out of Egypt. Then at the Red Sea the armourbearer went and stood behind Israel to protect her as she crossed the Red Sea.
Joseph’s brothers asked for forgiveness twice in the same verse. “Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren” and then “forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father.” They sinned against Joseph as blood relatives and they sinned against Joseph as servants of God. That’s two pretty close relationships. Joseph forgave them on both counts and the Lord never asked him to come under them again. Rather he assumed his rightful place from then on in spite of all the murderous jealousy he had endured.
It is imperative and completely necessary that I forgive those that have sinned against me. Not because they deserve it but because that forgiveness that I extend becomes an armourbearer for me.