Remorse leads to us to reflect on our behavior. We realize that what we did was wrong and caused pain. When God created man, He endowed each of us with a conscience (Romans 2:15). We never want to violate our consciences as it will cause us to feel a separation from God. 1 John 3:21, “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” Therefore, we must be aware of our sins and mistakes, which will certainly condemn us.
Let us briefly review the effects of a guilty conscience on Joseph’s brothers.
Fear of Punishment. Genesis 50:15, “When 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.’ ”.
Admission of Sin. Verse 17- “…forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father”.
Abasement, Humiliation, Asking Forgiveness. “.. his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.”
However, also consider that Joseph did not bear a grudge and thereby develop a mean character. Instead, Joseph displayed a nobility and maturity of character which were developed through his suffering and decision to forgive.
Lack of Desire for Revenge. Verse 19 – “…Fear not…”
Perception of God's Will in His Life. Verse 20 (NIV) – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Love and Reconciliation. Verse 21- “I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”