“You did not receive a spirit…to fear, but…of sonship.” Ro 8:15 NIV
Joseph’s brothers “were…stunned with surprise. ‘Come over here,’ he said. So they came closer. And he said again, ‘I am Joseph, your brother whom you sold into Egypt! But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it!’” (Ge 45:3-5 TLB). You’ll notice that Joseph didn’t react the way we so often do when someone hurts us. He didn’t: (1) distance his brothers; (2) enjoy watching them squirm; (3) practice one-upmanship; (4) gloat and say “gotcha!” (5) remind them of how they’d put him down and despised his dreams; (6) demand they acknowledge that he was right and they were wrong; (7) say, “I told you so!” No, Joseph wanted to be loved, not feared. He wanted restoration, not revenge. He knew that the long-term benefits of healing a relationship far outweighed any short-term satisfaction you get from retaliation. He understood that it’s only by releasing your offender that you set yourself free. The Bible says, “You did not receive a spirit…to fear, but…the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” The word “Abba” is a term of endearment which means “Daddy.” God doesn’t bring up your past, or keep you at arm’s length because of your failures. He wants you to know you can come to Him at any time, know that you’re accepted, feel secure in His presence, and call Him “Daddy.” And that’s the kind of love He wants you to show to others—a love that doesn’t want them to feel afraid in your presence.