January 22 - The Gift of Mercy


By Nancy Stevens

Today's Scripture: Genesis 44:1-45:28

Central Thought: God can give us the grace to forgive those who have wronged us.

    Perhaps, in a moment of anger you said some words that you deeply regret. However, what makes the situation even worse is that you said them to a relative or a close friend. You wish that you could somehow erase what you said, but you cannot. So, you decide to approach the person and humbly apologize, but you know that your relationship will no longer be as close as it was.

    You're stunned at-and extremely grateful for-the person's response: "Of course, I forgive you! I've already put the incident behind me."

    Joseph's brothers were astonished and bewildered at his gracious response to them. After all, they had contemplated murdering him and then sold him into slavery. How could he forgive them?

    Joseph realized that God had allowed his brothers' actions and all that resulted from them for a purpose. "'God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God'" (Genesis 45:7-8, NIV).

    As wonderful as Joseph's provision was for the physical needs of his brothers, his forgiveness was the most precious gift he could ever have given them.

    God has a purpose for everything He allows in our lives, even bitter situations. When we seek Him and ask for His grace to respond appropriately, He will help us to do so.

    Why not surprise someone who has wronged you by demonstrating mercy and extending your forgiveness. Isn't that exactly what our Father does for us every time we sin?

Devotional Prayer: Father, please help us to forgive others, just as You have forgiven us.

Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 44:1-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 4:11-13