Forgiveness is given, trust is earned. After all these years, Joseph finally comes face to face with his brothers. The very people who were responsible for all that he has been through. Read Genesis 42:6-25.
Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.”
Genesis 42:21 NASB
We know that Joseph had forgiven them from the glimpse into his personal life and how he named his sons. However, forgiveness and trust are two different things. While he may have forgiven them, he didn’t trust them and decided to test them to see where they were at.
As Joseph makes his statements, his brothers make the statement found in verse 21. Joseph now knew that his brothers had never really had to confront what they had done, but that they are at a place where they may be ready to. As a result, he sets up a series of events that will allow them to prove that they are truly repentant and have changed.
When others wrong us, the Bible is very clear in several places that we are to forgive them, but we are to evaluate before we immediately trust again. Do we do that, or just write people off? Or just as bad, automatically trust them again? We need to give people the opportunity to earn our trust back if they are willing to try. Do we make that effort? Who do you need to allow to earn back the trust that they broke?