Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. Genesis 50:17-18 (NIV)
The sons of Jacob could have done many things here. Their father was gone. They could have turned on Joseph as they had done in the past. They could have deceived and plotted to accomplish a favorable outcome. Instead, what we see is humility; men changed by God through the events of their life. Judah had become a leader and had taken a position of leadership among his brothers, even in a bit of a shadow of the leadership of Joseph. A good leader knows the position of humility. A good leader knows how to be a servant.
The brothers had no basis to ask for anything from their brother. Instead they asked for forgiveness. on the basis of being servants of the God of Joseph's father. It's hard for us to forgive someone who wronged us in our flesh; sin messes with our thinking. Pride taints us, emotions lead us to the wrong place, feelings lie to us, the words of the Lord about forgiveness seem faint and only for others in not so serious circumstances. However, as you stand before God and look next to you and find the one who wronged you standing before God, the dynamic changes. The mercy of God reminds us of what we deserve, the grace of God reminds us we ought to be about grace, the kindness of God leads us to repentance. The baggage of bitterness, hatred, retribution, vengeance suddenly become very heavy. God moves us to forgive and we are freed from so much.
The brothers took a position of humility and fell down before his face. This was to fall before him to show they were low and submissive to him, he was greater. They placed themselves in service to him. This was the final act of repentance, forgiveness and healing of this family. They had become Christlike in their action toward Joseph who portrayed Christ in so many ways.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar place, where you have no basis to ask for, or expect forgiveness by your own merit, by your own actions that may have been hurtful or even just prevented healing. It is freeing and healing to repent of that previous position and take a new position, one of falling before God first and maintaining that posture as you turn to those you are separated from. Ask for forgiveness and offer forgiveness on the basis of being a servant of God. See what God does for you. See what God does with the relationship. See what God does to the relationships of those around you who see this action on your part. While you may be thinking, "That may work for most but my situation is different, its hard, its bad." God is entirely faithful and good. If you earnestly respond in faith, He will do a work like you won't believe. Look at every miracle in the bible; the setting and situation right before involved pain, sorrow, brokenness; many times for years and years. Then°. God°.