God understands every inner-longing of our heart. We don’t have to “mask” the pain…
Imagine a man who just lost his last living parent and then was confronted by a group of family members with the latest “drama” of the day…
Genesis 50:15–20 (ESV)
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.”
16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died:
17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.”
Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”
19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
The burial of Israel, Joseph’s father, had been strenuous enough with all the preparations, traveling back and forth, and mourning ceremonies (Genesis 50: 1 – 11).
Of course, Joseph’s brothers had some concerns about their future livelihood. The guilt of their past indiscretion of betraying their brother had caught up with them as they were forced to take a look in the mirror.
And as “ugly” as the brothers’ reflection may have appeared, Joseph had shown them something beautiful instead — FORGIVENESS.
Joseph, a major leader in Egypt, clearly had the authority to banish his brothers if he desired. He could have easily left them homeless, destitute, and fending for food in the midst of the famine that plagued the land.
His brothers had been so cruel to him in the past…
But Joseph asked his brothers, “Am I in the place of God?” — Genesis 50:19
Their betrayal was real, but Joseph knew it was his duty as a Believer to remain surrendered to God and the truth of His Word – even when it was hard and seemingly impossible…
Romans 12:19 (NIV)
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Meaning, it was not Joseph’s duty to dictate the outcome of his brothers’ lives. His job was to love them through their “messy + complicated” antics while surrendering his heart to the Lord – as many times as it took…
What is your duty when it seems like the most challenging and heinous acts against you threaten to break your heart in two?
•Draw closer to the Lord as you acknowledge what hurts and offends you. He longs to hear from you.
•Confess your weaknesses as you understand your inability to walk this journey alone. You can lay anger, bitterness, and revenge at the feet of Jesus.
•Understand that forgiveness can be a process as one simple reminder or trigger can lead your mind to the moments that were most painful. Again, surrendering even the reminders or triggers at the feet of Jesus is your God-given right as He (Jesus) not only died for your sins but your pain as well.
•Use wisdom. Certain behaviors (example- abuse from a loved one) may require you to seek a “safe space.” When this is the case, remember it was not God’s design for you to make yourself susceptible to violence of any kind. Forgiveness is always possible. However, reconciling with someone who constantly resorts to abuse and violence (with no plan to change) may not be possible. If laws were broken, you have the right to report, file claims, or tell someone who can help you.
•Loving others through their messy + complicated antics could perhaps mean entering a season of prayer for the “difficult” people in your life. Even if you need a “safe space” or boundaries, this may still be the perfect time to pray fervently for others (and their well-being) versus being tempted to “withhold” prayer out of anger or apathy.
•Hold fast to the truth of God as you seek to “do it His way.” Seek to forgive and be forgiven because it’s the very foundation in which we become children of God.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- What pain or betrayal do you need to confess to God? Do you believe He cares for you according to Psalm 147:3?
- Do you have “safe spaces” to share your pain with others? A trusted friend? Counselor? Pastor?
- How can your time with God include praying for others more effectively? How can you pray for yourself concerning the prevention of an embittered heart?
- Is it possible to have the “hard conversation” with someone who offended or betrayed you? If this is not possible, how will you pursue closure with God?
- If you’ve offended someone, how can you make it “right” with God and the person you offended? (God still cares for you and you can confess ANYTHING to Him according to 1 John 1:9).