God has found out the guilt of your servants… —Genesis 44:16

            Unconfessed guilt is a heavy burden to carry.  For 22 years Joseph’s brothers carried the guilt of selling Joseph into slavery.  For 22 years Joseph’s brothers carried the guilt of deceiving their father into thinking Joseph died a horrible death by being killed and eaten by a wild animal.  For 22 years Joseph’s brothers carried the guilt of seeing their father grieve for his dead son.  The last picture related to his son was the bloodied, multi-color coat Jacob had made for him.  That is a lot of guilt these brothers secretly carried among themselves.

            But, 22 years later, when he revealed himself to his brothers, Joseph said, “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).  He also said, “I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute” (Genesis 45:11).  Joseph had already forgiven his brothers.  He held them accountable for what they had done when later he said, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people. Therefore do not be afraid. I will provide for you and your little ones.” So Joseph reassured his brothers and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).  Joseph understood how God worked through his pain and suffering to accomplish what He desired in and through Joseph’s life.

            His brothers had sold him into slavery.  Joseph spent a total of 13 years in Potiphar’s house serving him and then in prison after falsely being accused of rape. “Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt…” (Genesis 41:46).  Seven years of plenty and then seven years of famine would grip the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:29-30).  The seven years of plenty were over and two years of famine had passed.  That would make Joseph thirty-nine years old when he revealed his identity to his astonished brothers.  Yes, for 22 years they had carried their guilt.  The sad thing about this is they still believed that Joseph would get even at some point.  After “their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?”’  But Joseph reassured them that they were forgiven and he would take care of them.

            Have you carried some guilt around for years?  Confess it to God.  He already knows and desires you to confess, whatever you are guilty for, to Him.  We are told “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

Thank You, Dear Father, that I don’t have to carry guilt around with me, but can confess to You immediately and be forgiven and then do the right thing, whatever You call me to do.  And may I do so by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Dear Son Jesus.  Thank You for forgiving me for all my stupidity, sin and rebellion against You.  Please help me be faithful with the rest of my life to honor You and encourage others.  May it be so!

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