Asking for forgiveness is hard.

It means realizing that you’ve hurt someone. It means accepting responsibility.

Asking for forgiveness is also deeply intimate.

It means acknowledging that the relationship you have with someone is close enough that you can hurt them. It means being vulnerable.

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But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I God? You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today. Now, don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” So he put them at ease and spoke reassuringly to them.

Genesis 50:19-21

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Joseph, moved by his brothers’ actions, realizes his place. He asks: am I God? Who am I to say why things happened the way they did? But God had a purpose. Joseph realizes that there is no one in God’s place but God. Joseph turns the hurt his brothers inflicted on him on its head: I am put here to do good, he argues, and I will care for you and your children.

How could a brother so hurt turn things around like this?

Joseph’s brothers had a moment of deep realization. They knew they had done something to tear the fabric of their relationship with Joseph and worried that his kindness was only due to his love of their father. So they asked for his mercy in God’s name. In being vulnerable, they learned that the source of Joseph’s love was deeper than his desire to honor his father. His source of love and forgiveness was faith in God. Isn’t God always the source?

Kirstin Swanson

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God, sometimes I am Joseph, and sometimes I am his brothers. When I am the person who needs forgiving, give me the words to ask for it, and help move the heart of the person I have wronged to see the sincerity of what I say. When I am the person who needs to grant forgiveness, fill me with your Spirit so I may act in love, not with fear or malice, to forgive the sincere requester. Keep me responding in a way to repair relationships. Amen.

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Each day is a new chance to act with compassion and offer forgiveness.

May your eyes, ears, and heart be opened to the new beginnings forgiveness can offer, for the forgiver and the forgiven.

Kirstin Swanson

Kirstin Swanson lives and works in Staten Island, NY, where she is a freelancing fundraiser and grant writer. She has worshiped and served in lay leadership in Episcopal churches in the New York City area and is blessed to share her home with her husband and two young children.

Making Space - Day By Day

Carter Harrell

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