Often when a practical joke is played on someone, the recipient can’t wait to say, “It’s pay-back time.” Yet when it happens, it may eventually lead to ill feelings toward one another and possibly a torn relationship.
In the story of Joseph and his brothers, their fear of pay-back time was definitely legitimate. In fact, few people would have faulted Joseph for listing their record of wrongs and calling it “pay-back time.” But instead he revealed a deep love and abiding forgiveness for the very ones who desired his demise.
Though we are daily guilty of sins, including revenge and the failure to love as we should, Jesus didn’t pay us back for all our wrongs. Instead His back bore it all. His stripes healed us – from every denial, every shameful sin, every refusal to walk in His will. Instead He granted us forgiveness with no grudges, no accusations, no keeping a record of wrongs. Taking the penalty of our sin upon Himself to the cross, He chose to say, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Like Joseph, He made the choice He did for the saving of many lives (Gen. 50:20).
Dear Jesus, thank You for refusing to pay us back for our wrongs and not holding them to our account. Amen.