Redemption is the primary theme of the Bible. Understanding that God can redeem any act, no matter how evil, gives us a different perspective on life. This is beautifully illustrated in the life of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his ten brothers. Years later Joseph was able to save the lives of his family because God had placed him in a strategic position in Egypt. Joseph’s brothers continued to fight the guilt for the terrible evil they had done to their brother. They and their father Jacob wondered how Joseph could ever forgive them for what they did. After Jacob’s death, they came to Joseph to ask forgiveness again, and the recorded response was “Joseph wept” (Genesis 50:17). Joseph grieved because his brothers could not grasp God’s wonderful grace and redeeming power. Then his brothers said to him, "We are your slaves," But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:18-20).
Joseph plainly tells them that he is aware of their evil intentions that horrible day they sold their seventeen-year-old brother into slavery. Their actions were motivated by their sinful natures, and their attempts to cover up their sin were completely unsuccessful. When you read the fascinating account of Joseph testing his brothers on their encounter with him in Egypt, they still bear this enormous burden of guilt. Even years later after the brothers and their families have received wonderful kindness and generosity from Joseph, they still doubt they could be truly forgiven. I suggest their response is completely human, because people struggle to forgive and accept forgiveness. True forgiveness is a God-thing.
When you come to know and understand that God is a God of redemption, you come to believe that God can take any evil and integrate it into his wonderful plan. Perhaps you have been struggling with something that happened to you many years ago, and you can’t make sense of it—then turn it over to a God of grace. Perhaps you still remember your mistake that hurt other people, and you can’t forgive yourself—then remember that God is your redeemer.
I encourage you today to allow God to redeem every aspect of your life today. That means every mistake, every sin, and every horrible act that you are ashamed of. God will take them and transform them into something that has meaning for you. How can he do this? He can do this because he is God and because this is the kind of God he is. God can take even the bad intentions of others and use them for his purposes.