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Genesis 45:4

Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.’

I am your brother

The story of Joseph and his brothers is one of the most profound stories of rupture and reconciliation in the scriptures. The object of murderous intent, Joseph is sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt and his father shown a bloodstained cloak. Betrayed again in the house of Potiphar, and betrayed again in prison by Pharaoh’s cupbearer, Joseph ultimately emerges as the chief steward of the empire. To him his brothers must come for food when drought and starvation threaten.

It is the perfect moment for revenge. But Joseph presses his brothers until he hears their confession – then the arms of forgiveness swing wide. And what is the decisive element in this great drama? “I am your brother.” The ties of kinship drive inevitably toward mercy and reconciliation.

Our kinship as a single human family drives inevitably toward mercy and reconciliation. This is the only enduring outcome. This is the only true peace. This is the enduring reign of God. And it is the reality we pray to experience now when we utter the words Jesus taught us: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”