NEW COATS FOR OLD WOUNDS–His Healing Love by D. Winn
He provided each of them with a change of clothing. Gen. 45:22, N.E.B.
It is human nature for us to retaliate when we feel that we have been mistreated. Even as Christians, we might find our hearts struggling against “forbidden” emotions such as anger and defensiveness. To withdraw from the offender provides, at best, only temporary relief. And it leaves us to deal with the guilt we experience at having felt such negative emotions in the first place.
Does God understand? Or does He merely “keep score”–grimly noting when we fail or stoically approving our stiff-upper-lip “successes”? After all, He’s God! What can He know of our miseries? Plenty! Acted out in the life of His Son, we behold our mistreated, misunderstood, and maligned God not just telling us how we should behave, but showing us Himself.
Another portrayal was through Jacob’s son Joseph. Joseph had a beautiful coat of many colors. That coat was taken from him by his brothers, who callously sold him as a slave. Later they dipped his coat in blood and presented it to his father as proof of his demise. Far from dead, however, Joseph grew to be second only to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. Years later famine forced his brothers to unwittingly seek sustenance from the very one they had so mercilessly mistreated. Joseph held no grudge against them. He not only gave them the food for which they asked, but he arranged for all their needs to be supplied in the coming years. And he “provided each of them with a change of clothing.”
For the beautiful coat that had been taken from Joseph and dipped in blood, those brothers received coats, as it were, for themselves. Joseph could have supplied them with funds to purchase their own garments. Instead, in a gesture of sublime forgiveness, he himself clothed them. It was more than they had asked for, more than they expected or deserved. But by doing so, Joseph demonstrated his unconditional acceptance of them. They did not have to deal with his offended feelings. And so their relationship was healed.
What wondrous love! What inspiring sensitivity displayed in service of restored friendship! When I realize that this is exactly how God relates to me, my heart is tempered toward those who do me wrong. In them I see myself; and in me, I can only desire that they might see God.
Prayer: God, we ask for help not to take offense to every wrongdoing inflicted by the things that people say or do. Thank you for your overwhelming grace and mercies. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.