Nonviolent Forgiveness

October 31st, 2010


Genesis 50:15-26

Can you imagine the look on Joseph’s face the first time he realized he was standing in the presence of the very ones who betrayed him? Joseph was one of the most powerful people in Egypt at the time, and he could easily have had them put to death. By today’s standards, this scenario would make for a pretty lame movie–John Wayne wouldn’t have let this happen to him. We live in a world where justice is when the good guy gets the bad guy.

Joseph is standing in the midst of the “bad guys” and offers them forgiveness instead of retribution. Joseph, through his nonviolent forgiveness, creates a new world of possibilities for his brothers. Joseph has been shaped by an imagination that is far greater that the typical good guy/bad guy scenario. His imagination is funded by a God who extends redemption to all of creation. Joseph’s actions seem so miniscule on a personal level. This is why it is so hard for us to truly grasp the magnitude of what is happening in the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus was reversing a whole system of violence and oppression when He faithfully and nonviolently went to the Cross.

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