Insight for the Day

A Relationship Fixer-Upper

May 14, 2024 Robert Wolgemuth—Editor

Joseph kissed each of his brothers as he wept, and afterward his brothers talked with him. (Genesis 45:15)

The word restoration is one of my favorites. I love the idea of taking something old and broken and making it like new.

One of the clerks at the Home Depot where I used to do most of my shopping owns a ’56 Ford pickup. When I see it in the employee parking area, I can’t help but stare. It’s one of the most beautifully restored vehicles I’ve ever seen, complete with its mid-fifties turquoise finish. Even though it’s a truck, my suspicion is that the owner would rather die than put anything in the wood-varnished bed that might scratch it.

The passage today talks about a different kind of restoration—a relationship fixer-upper. What Joseph’s brothers had done to him was horrible. Their hostility toward him as a teenager had led them to sell him. They had wanted to kill him but changed their minds when the opportunity to exchange him for cash money presented itself. Can you imagine?

However, to deserve this awful relationship with his brothers, Joseph had been an arrogant little spoiled brat, shamelessly strutting his stuff in their faces.

Now it’s almost thirty years later. All of these men have faced untold hardships. Things haven’t turned out according to plan for any of them. Maturity has taken root. And now Joseph stands in front of his broken brothers like my Home Depot friend must have stood in front of his rusted old pickup muttering to himself, “This one could use some serious restoration.”

Can you picture these grown men embracing one another? Today’s verse tells us that they wept openly, probably with regret for the years that had passed without making things right but filled with sheer delight over the sparkling new finish on their family relationship.

My favorite part of this story is what they did after their broken relationship had been restored. They talked. There was so much ground to cover, so much to say. They couldn’t wait to get reacquainted. Conversation after restoration is sheer delight.

Which one of your relationships needs to be redone? Which one is covered with the rust of silence and bitterness? Picture what it might be like to confess your wrongdoing, forgive them for their part, then sit down over coffee in luxurious conversation.

Wouldn’t it be great if people would gaze at this healing in our relationship, like I do when I see that freshly purposed turquoise pickup? “What a tremendous restoration,” they’d say.