5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
I have to admit, I feel perplexed by how much mercy and forgiveness Joseph is showing. How can he say that his brothers should not be grieved for what they did?!
But perhaps that is what makes his mercy so exceptional, the fact that it defies the natural, human reaction. Undeserved grace is hard for our fallen hearts to accept, but it is an essential piece of God’s plan for us.
What Jacob’s sons did to Joseph was wrong. Totally wrong. Yes, being sold by them into Egypt ended up working out for the greater good, but that still doesn’t justify them for doing something evil. At the same time, though, it really was a good thing that Joseph was sold into Egypt, as it got him where he needed to be to save his life, his family’s life, and the lives of countless others.
So how does one resolve these two things: an evil action but a good outcome? How does one demand justice for the evil, but also remain grateful of the good? Well, perhaps you don’t resolve them together. Holding gratitude and vengeance in one’s heart at the same time is impossible, so you just have to let go of one in order to hold to the other. And between the two, clearly the better choice for Joseph is to let go of worrying about the injustice so he can fully praise God for the arc of redemption.
Yes, the brothers did something wrong, but that’s between them and God now. As far as Joseph is concerned, all he can see is the beauty.