Please, come closer.” Genesis 45:4

In a moment of incredible drama, Joseph forgives his brothers for selling him into slavery many years before. Joseph, weeping deeply, is freed from years of anger and resentment. His brothers are released from the crushing guilt of their sin. The family is reunited with Joseph’s words, “Please come closer.”

“Please come closer” is the essence of forgiveness. Sin drives a wedge. Relationships once close are now distant, conversation difficult or absent, affection impossible. Forgiveness removes the wedge, opening the way to restoration.

Forgiveness can never be a command. To command is to insist, to impose; it’s an act of pride. Not so forgiveness. Forgiveness is always an invitation, a humble beckoning to re-enter the circle of love.  This is why it can be so hard to forgive. When we are hurt we instinctively make demands, but the invitation of forgiveness requires humility. “Please . . . I invite you. . . I seek you . . . come closer.”

Further reading: Does Forgiveness = No Consequences?

Close relationship is what distinguishes a family from a crowd. Crowds are people who happen to be in the same place. Families are people united in close affection. Crowds don’t need forgiveness. Families cannot live without it.

All families experience the pain and hurt of broken relationship. We are too imperfect to get it right all the time. But some families thrive because in humility they forgive. “Please come closer again.” Love – the bond of family – is restored.

“Forgive one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Father, I have been forgiven so many times over and so deeply and permanently. Grant me the grace to forgive in the same way. Amen.

Take Action

If you have a relationship that is broken, choose to seek forgiveness. It may require extra effort and hard work, but choose to be close again. 

Do you need courage or a miracle for reconciliation ever to happen? Pray with a confidential mentor today.

Tags: family forgiveness Joseph