The Tug of War of Repairing Relationships

They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother.We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.

Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left. - Genesis 42:21-26

The setting is this - Joseph's brothers have just come down to Egypt because there's a huge famine and only Egypt has food. They had sold Joseph into slavery, and he ended up in Egypt and rose to power, so although they don't know it, they are talking to their long lost brother (who they tried to kill) and asking for his help.

Joseph shows the tug of war of repairing relationships. Just before these verses he's very angry, then here be begins to weep and face his sadness, then he gets vindictive and has one of his brothers thrown into prison, and then he's really generous with them by giving them extra provisions and extra money. 

It's good to be reminded that relationships are complicated and that we go through a roller coaster of emotions when dealing with the pain of our childhood. The key thing to remember here is that God is at work in all of this, and even though it takes several years, Joseph does mature and get to the point of repairing those relationships. 

Talk with God right now about one of the messy relationships you have. Express to him all of your emotions and commit to allowing him to grow and change and heal you (and others).