The Cost of Reconciliation

Notice the cost to Joseph of this elaborate scheme to elicit evidence of repentance.  Biblical narrators don’t often show us the internal emotions of the characters, but here he tells us that Joseph was so overcome by emotion that he had to go to an inner room and weep (43:30), just as he did on their previous visit.  Joseph was not orchestrating events stoically from a safe distance; he longed to be reunited with his brothers.  However, for real reconciliation to take place, it would be necessary to see whether real change had occurred in his brothers.

That, of course, is true if our own broken relationships are to be restored.  It is not only the guilty party who has to pay the price of reconciliation.  The person who has been sinned against also has to be willing to bear the cost.  There will usually be many tears on both sides of the equation before shalom can be restored.  Sometimes it might seem easier to forget the whole endeavor and go back to living unreconciled lives; at other times, there may be the temptation to gloss over the sin and rush to reconciliation before real change has taken place.  Pursuing true reconciliation is a hard and costly process, demanding much of all those concerned.

Living in the Light of Inextinguishable Hope: The Gospel According to Joseph, pgs. 107-8.

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Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)
Anaheim, CA

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