Pastor's Pen for 05/03/2017When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him. (Genesis 50)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Revenge. Payback. We know what it is like to be wronged. Either the giver of wrong or the receiver of wrong. It hurts on both sides. The giver of wrong is filled with guilt. The receiver of wrong is filled with hurt. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. (1 Thessalonians 5)

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7)

Joseph knew what it was liked to be wronged. Betrayed by his brothers. He was stripped of his clothes. Thrown into a pit. Mocked as a dreamer. Left for dead. Sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver. He suffered on behalf of his brothers.

You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones. (Genesis 50)

Joseph is a Christ-like figure in the Scriptures. What men meant for evil against Joseph God meant for good. At the Cross of Calvary it was meant for evil. The killing of Jesus. God used it for Good. Your salvation. “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23)

You killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead...I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord...To bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness. (Acts 3)

Repent of your sin. Payback and revenge. Let those sins die at the bottom of the Baptismal font. The time of refreshing and renewal has come from the Lord. In Christ’s death and resurrection.

What to do with the evil that is done to you? Turn the other cheek. Forgive those who sin against you. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (1 Peter 3)

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4)

The life of a Christian is one of forgiveness. The Baptized Children of God receive the forgiveness of sins all for Christ’s sake. Now, living in this forgiveness, you forgive those who sin against you. You forgive your spouse, children, and neighbor. Where there is forgiveness of sins there is life and salvation.

Rejoice in the rich treasure of the forgiveness of sins the Lord has given you. Rejoice in hearing, receiving and forgiving one another. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. (What does this mean?) We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor deny such petitions on account of them; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them; but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much, and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So will we verily, on our part, also heartily forgive and also readily do good to those who sin against us.

The Fifth Petition



Rev. Lance D. Berndt is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church ( in Omaha, NE.