Genesis 45: 22
And he gave each of them new clothes–but Benjamin he gave five changes of clothes and three hundred pieces of silver!
“…and he gave them each new clothes.” Joseph did this. In the book of Genesis, chapter 45, verse 22, we learn that Joseph is the top advisor to the Pharoah of Egypt and his brothers, who sold him into slavery several years earlier, had just discovered Joseph’s new position. Joseph, the brother that they despised because their father favored him, was now in a position to provide them with everything they needed to get through the famine. He’d told them as a child that he had a dream of one day being a ruler above them. They hated him because they thought he was being arrogant, but he was merely speaking the truth that God had shared with him.
He was destined for greatness. Like all of us are, but the difference with Joseph is that he believed it.
“…and he gave them each new clothes.” When Joseph revealed to his brothers who he was, as they had approached him for food to survive the famine, he didn’t throw back in their faces his anger toward them for putting him through the hell of slavery and isolation. He didn’t lash out at them in anger for all the pain they had caused him by allowing him to be snatched away from his family and dragged to a foreign land.
No, “…he gave them each new clothes.” Joseph forgave them. Acknowledging that there was a purpose in the pain he endured, he forgave them for the part they played in God’s process to deliver him to his destiny. Joseph was now in a position of power to provide for his family in a way he never could have had his brothers not betrayed him. Joseph was hurt, yes, but Joseph did not allow his pain to persuade him. Joseph knew that in order to continue to live the purpose God had placed on his life he’d have to Love. Joseph would have to Love them despite the deception; despite the callousness; despite their lack of Love toward him.
Joseph “gave them each new clothes” because he knew that just as he had received new clothes signifying his status in Egypt, his brothers would need new clothes, so that he could see them outside of the box his mind had put them in as his betrayers.
“But you can’t trust them Joseph!” most would say. “No, you can’t,” God might reply, “but you CAN trust me.” Joseph understood that true Love for you neighbor, as each of us is commanded to do, requires that we trust God and God alone. In your own strength you can not Love your neighbor as you Love yourself, but with God in your mind; with God in your heart; and with God on your tongue; you can Love anyone precisely the way God needs you to in order for His will to be done.
“…and he gave them each new clothes.” When you allow the one who has wronged you the opportunity to change clothes, you release him or her from the cage of unforgiveness you have trapped them in. When you see them in the same “breastplate of righteousness” that God has allowed you to wear, you two can work together in Love to achieve the greatness God has planned for you as a pair.
Joseph understood that no matter how many “I forgive you’s” he gave to his brothers, unless HE saw them differently in HIS eyes, he’d never be able to serve his family in Love the way God intended him to and in the way God had now positioned him to.
So, if you are in a rut about letting someone in your life off the hook for not being who you thought they were, hurting you, or not living up to who you expected them to be, read Joseph’s story. Maybe understanding how he was able to “give them new clothes” can help you do the same.