Meanderings of a Minister


Get Better or Get Even?
January 16, 2014, 10:00 pm
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Agnry

I am reading the Bible through again this year for the 10th or so time.  This morning, I read again about Joseph’s story and how he was mistreated, sold into slavery, falsely accused, imprisoned, forgotten, and then exalted to become the second in command of Egypt.  Of particular interest is when his brothers show up for the second time to get food and bring Benjamin along.  Upon seeing his brother from his real mother, Joseph is overcome and reveals himself to his brothers.  Perhaps it is best to allow the Bible speak for itself:

 Genesis 45:3–7

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

“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. [1]

 Joseph was in the perfect position to exact revenge on his brothers.  He could have had them imprisoned in the very prison Simeon had just left and that Joseph had spent so many year in himself.  He could have had them put to death.  He could have done a number of things.  He could have at least given them a piece of his mind.  He chose none of that.

Instead, Joseph chose forgiveness.  He chose to get better.  He chose to make their relationship better.  He chose to trust God and let God be God.  He chose to believe that God was in control and could have prevented this from all happening, but had a plan and Joseph surrendered to that plan.

Even as I typed those last words, I feel convicted.  How many times have I been offended and chose to push back?  How many times have I been inconvenienced and spouted off at the mouth (or at least in my mind)?  How many times has someone hurt me and I allowed myself to fantasize about them getting what’s coming to them?

Jesus said that we are to forgive, or God will not forgive us.

 Matthew 6:14–15

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”[2]

 If we really believe God’s Word to be God’s Word, how SHOULD we respond to hurts?  That is obvious!  HOW do we do it?  That is faith, relationship with Christ, learning through discipline and a focus on the glory of God instead of my own ego.  Great definition.  How do you live it?  Let’s find out together.


[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

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