October 03, 2023
Everyone gets hurt in life. And the immediate, natural path is to hold those who’ve hurt us in our hearts to make sure they pay for what they’ve done. We seek revenge, and we can be very precise in how we pursue repayment.
THE WORST CASE
Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers. This started a chain of events that led to slavery, false accusations, and imprisonment. Everything seemed to go wrong. Had Joseph responded normally, he would have been an angry, bitter man.
But Joseph chose a higher path. He forgave his brothers somewhere along the way and chose to see what had happened through a Divine perspective. He trusted that God knew what He was about with His life. In the end, Joseph was lifted up, by Divine providence, to become the second in command to the most powerful leader in the world. Also, through Joseph’s nearness to God, he was given such clarity that God showed him what was about to happen and put Joseph in a position to literally save the whole world.
BLESSING THOSE WHO HURT YOU
In time, Joseph encountered his brothers again. Instead of exacting revenge, he blessed them. He provided for his whole family, saving their lives. When he finally revealed himself to them, it was not with anger or unforgiveness. It was laced with spiritual understanding, given to him by God Himself. It is one of the most astounding paragraphs in the whole Bible.
“Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:5-8, emphasis mine)
DO YOU SEE?
How do you interpret what has happened to you? Was your hurt random? No purpose or meaning? God is not the author of evil, but He can use evil for good. That’s how redemptive He is.
Joseph chose to believe God and, in so doing, was used to save the very men who hurt him. He saved the whole known world just because Divine Providence had placed him in a position to do so. Unforgiveness would have aborted his usefulness. But he embraced God’s sovereignty and lived an incredibly productive, happy life.
And so can you.
Begin by forgiving your offenders. Forgiveness is an act of your will made possible by the grace of God to release the debt you’re holding. By faith, transfer what has happened from your courtroom to the courtroom of heaven and leave the results in God’s hands (see Romans 12:17-21).
Let God remove the sting of unforgiveness and the dangerous knife of revenge. Let Him flood your heart with His love by the Holy Spirit, allowing you to even love your enemies. And in so doing, you will find the joy and purposes of heaven.
God might even use you to save others in ways you cannot imagine.
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