Bad things… unfair things happen to all of us! I’ve got a list I could give you right now! To dwell on those things, to fuss over them and brood over them, just makes you morose, bitter and mad! Perspective is everything!
Joseph in the Bible teaches that truth! Sold into slavery by jealous brothers. Then purchased as a common slave by Potiphar, an official of Pharoah, king of Egypt. He was seduced and then falsely accused when he resisted the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife. Then he was jailed on the unjust accusation of sexual assault. To top it off, in prison he was forgotten by someone who promised to help him… He could have said, “I’ve been victimized every step of the way… over and over again!”
And yet, through it all, the Bible says, “God made him to prosper!”
Hatred for his brothers who sold him into slavery could have been an inflamed, festering wound in his life! But it wasn’t! Joseph set aside resentment, recognized the grace of God at work in spite of the injustices, sought to be a blessing in whatever circumstances he found himself, and moved on… And “God made him to prosper!”
And then Joseph is faced with an opportunity to “get even” – to make his brothers pay for the injustice done to him! Does he do it? No, instead here is what happened… “Joseph made himself known to his brothers… and he wept aloud! So joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, please… I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life… God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God!’” (From Genesis 45:1-8)
What generates this kind of perspective… Certainly not a victimization perspective! That kind of outlook only leads to bitterness, hatred and the determination to get vengeance. What Joseph demonstrates is a deep conviction in the sovereign, providential activity of God! A grace viewpoint of life! A faith filled life cup! The deep conviction that “All things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose”… and “If God is for us, who can be against us?”… and “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who love us!” (From Romans 8:28-39)
So I guess here is the lesson learned… We need to lay aside the resentment for all the injustices done to us and what seems to be grossly unfair, put our lives and circumstances in the Lord’s hands, rest in the confidence He is at work in our lives, and move on, determined to be a blessing to those around us, ready to forgive those who have wronged us with the grace that God provides! Don’t know about you, but I’m going to follow the example of Joseph (and Jesus)!