Read Genesis 50:15-21
After Jacob’s death, his brothers had a lot of reasons to fear what he might do to them. They even go so far as to put words into their father’s mouth (which was a bit foolish since Joseph was there when Jacob died).
Joseph’s answer reflects an earthly forgiveness, but it does not constitute a removal of the error. Joseph says, “am I in the place of God?” (v 19) which says that just because he was not going to do something did not mean that they were getting off the hook with God.
Sometimes we confuse our own forgiveness with God’s justice. We figure that if we forgive someone then God will remove the consequences of their actions. Joseph was able to forgive because he trusted God to be just. We would be able to live with a lot less worry if we understood that as well.
Jesus, you taught us forgiveness. Help me to forgive, trusting that justice remains in your hands. Help me to serve and love because you are truly sovereign.