And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt." -Genesis 45:4

Do you suppose that while Joseph was being sent to misery and an almost certain death in Egypt that he thought God was preparing him to rule a nation? I don’t think so.

Do you suppose that during the long, forced march to Egypt he was thankful to his brothers for acting as the hand of God moving him toward the realization of his destiny? I don’t think so. Do you suppose that while he was imprisoned in darkness and filth that he felt the anticipation of one preparing for a glorious future? I don’t think so.

Yet when Joseph forgave his brothers, he revealed a long-term attitude of heart that allowed his suffering to become his strength. God expects us to forgive because we’re growing in Christ-like love. But more personally, when we forgive, we allow God to take the mistreatment we receive and turn it into the forging of character that allows God to use us to rule in our own Egypt.

Who is God using to shape your character? Are you forgiving?