Joseph lesson 7

Joseph Lesson: Forgiveness


Thesis: WE are to follow the example of Joseph (and Jesus) and offer forgiveness to others


Scripture:  Selection from Genesis 42, 43, 45, & 50 (see additional pages)


Ephesians 4: 31-32

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.


Activity:  Play Sorry  (this was an initaial concept, but I am not certain that this will work or their will be enough time.  I suggest just doing the Retaliation discussion)

  • Option 1: Purchase game
  • Option 2: Printable board (included and Virtual Sorry Card Deck (Google Play).
  • Human Sorry: (Working on details)


Discussion Option: Retaliation.

Video clip from Superstore!


When someone does something hurtful to you, you want to retaliate. You want to do something back to them, making them feel awful because of their hurtfulness.  Unfortunately, when you do something hurtful back to someone, their desire is to retaliate.


Start something simple (for example – Someone takes your snack.  Have one person think of a retaliation (for example – Take their sandwich). Then have the next person think of an appropriate retaliation (For example – Calling them fat). Continue around the group building on the previous retaliation.  Warning – Do not have them jump to an extreme (he took my pudding, so I will kill his dog.  Let each retaliation build one step upon another, until it gets completely out of hand.



  • At what point did the retaliations get out of hand?
  • Where should the retaliations have stopped?
  • How could this cycle of retaliation have stopped?
  • Why is retaliation so difficult to stop?
  • At what point was there no chance for forgiveness?


Reflection:  Have the group remember how Joseph’s brothers treated him

(You can show these videos if you need to:

Read Genesis 42: 3, 6-7a

3 So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain…6 Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph recognized his brothers instantly…


Discuss: Imagine if you were Joseph, now Leader in Egypt, and you saw your brothers,

  • What emotions would you be feeling?
  • What would you want to do?
  • What would you do?


Read Genesis 42:7-9. 17

7 Joseph recognized his brothers instantly., but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them.

8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him.9 And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.”…

17 So Joseph put them all in prison for three days.



  • Why do you think Joseph put them in prison?
  • Why did he have them wait there for 3 days?
  • Why does he release them after that?


Read Genesis 42: 17-26

17 So Joseph put them all in prison for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live. 19 If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families. 20 But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.” To this they agreed.

21 Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.”

23 Of course, they didn’t know that Joseph understood them, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter. 24 Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again…25 Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them supplies for their journey home. 26 So the brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain and headed for home.



  • Why does Joseph say they are being released from prison?
  • Why do they think that they are being treated so harshly?
  • Why does Joseph start to weep?
  • How do you think they would have responded if they knew that they were speaking with Joseph?


Read The selection from Chapters 43

Chapter 43

But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan. 2 When the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”

15 So the men packed Jacob’s gifts and double the money and headed off with Benjamin. They finally arrived in Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of his household, “These men will eat with me this noon… 17 So the man did as Joseph told him and took them into Joseph’s palace. 18 The brothers were terrified when they saw that they were being taken into Joseph’s house.

23 “Relax. Don’t be afraid,” the household manager told them. 24 The manager then led the men into Joseph’s palace…25 They were told they would be eating there, so they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon.

26 When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed low to the ground before him. 27 After greeting them, he asked, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?”

28 “Yes,” they replied. “Our father, your servant, is alive and well.” And they bowed low again…29 Then Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. 30 Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept. 31 After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, “Bring out the food!”



  • Why are the brothers nervous about returning to Egypt?
  • What might they be thinking as they are being led to Joseph’s palace?
  • Why does Joseph start to cry?
  • How might the break between the two visits help Jospeh come to terms with seeing his brothers gain?


Read Selection from Chapter 45

Chapter 45

Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2 Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.

3 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 4 “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6 This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.[a] 8 So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser[b] to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.



  • What thoughts. Emotions. Memories, fears, might be going through your mind when you hear the “I am Joseph”?
  • How does Joseph try and comfort them in their fears?
  • What does Joseph see as the reason for all he has gone through?
  • How does that perspective help him forgive his brothers?




Lesson Videos:



  • What would have happened if Joseph decided to not forgive his brothers?
  • Why is forgiveness so important?
  • Why is it so difficult?


Read Ephesians 4: 31-32

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.



  • Is it easier to have “bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander” or “be kind to each other, tenderhearted”?
  • Would it have been justifiable for Joseph to respond to his brothers in bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander? How did his tenderheart allow him to forgive his brothers?
  • Why does the author add that we should forgive others “just as God through Christ has forgiven you”?
  • How might knowing you are forgiven by God help you forgive others?
  • Who does forgiveness help more, the person doing the forgiving or the person being forgiven?


Application:  Personal Reflection

Read Ephesians 4: 31-32

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.


Invite your group to quietly engage with these questions (in their own heads)


  • When you are hurt by another person (especially a friend, sibling, parent) do you respong with bitterness or tenderheartedness?
  • Is it difficult for you to forgive others?
  • Is it difficult for you to accept forgiveness from others?
  • Who are some people that you have a difficult time forgiving?
  • Ask God help you to forgive them, now and in the future


Close in prayer.

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