In church this Sunday you will hear two stories about forgiveness. I will be reading a story from the Old Testament about Joseph. This story is not about Joseph the carpenter, who was Mary’s husband; it is about a young man named Joseph who lived hundreds of years before Jesus was born. It is one of the many stories that were read to Jesus from the Torah, when he worshiped in the synagogue. This story is also part of the Bible’s Old Testament, also called the Hebrew Bible.
Joseph’s father Jacob (or Israel) had twelve sons, but Joseph was his favorite. When Joseph was young his father gave him a special coat. It had wide sleeves and many colors. HIs brothers all were jealous, and threw Joseph into a well – then sold him to be a slave in Egypt. It is a long story and an important one, because it tells the story of Joseph’s life and how, even though his brothers had sold him as a slave, Joseph helped them to survive; he fed them, he cared for them, and he forgave them. Joseph said to his brothers: “What you intended for harm, God intended for good.” You can hear the whole story of Joseph in this video about Joseph and His Brothers OR you can hear Joseph’s story in these four shorter videos:
4. Joseph and the Promised Land
Later in the service, Peg Ris will read a selection from the New Testament. In this reading from the Book of Luke, Jesus is speaking to a crowd.
Jesus tells them to love their enemies. To do good to those who hate them. Treat other people the way you would want to be treated. Do for other people what you want them to do for you. Forgive other people, and you will be forgiven.
Sometimes it is hard to forgive – when someone teases you or makes you angry. Sometimes it is hard to control our anger. But when you learn to control your anger and forgive, you will find that you are happier and the world around you is a little brighter. A wise man once wrote: “What you give to the world, so the world will give to you.”
Here is a coloring page reminding you of Jesus’ words: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”. As you go through the week ahead watch for all the things around you that you love – for the things that you are thankful for. When something upsets you or makes you angry, talk to your parents or an adult you trust, tell them what happened, and count the many things that you are thankful for.
May the week ahead bring you many chances to help others and a chance to forgive.