I’ve had times in my life when other’s words and actions caused me deep emotional pain and spiritual trauma. One such occasion occurred when people I loved and respected talked behind my back and formed opinions of me due to lies being told. My character was at stake and I was deeply hurt. Choosing to love and forgive kept bitterness at bay, but the wounds took time to heal.
This reminds me of Joseph. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery and lied to their father claiming Joseph had been devoured by a wild animal. Joseph became a slave in Egypt where he served in the house of Potiphar. He was trusted and treated well, until once again, lies were told. Joseph was cast in prison for years before he was brought before Pharoah to interpret his disturbing dream.
The dream revealed that seven years of plenty and seven years of famine would come across the land. Pharoah was relieved to know the answers to this troubling dream and set Joseph to reign second to himself. He assigned Joseph the task of crop management during the years of plenty to suffice for the years of famine. Joseph accepted his assignment and went to work serving well in a pagan land separated from his family and all he’d ever known. This new life was not of his choosing.
When the years of famine arrived so did his brothers who came to buy corn. They didn’t recognize Joseph, but he recognized them. He brought them to his table and fed them. These brothers were reminded of their past deceptive deeds as Joseph devised a series of events to prove their hearts.
Joseph chose to forgive and love his brothers despite their past offenses. He realized God used their previous actions to bring him to Egypt to preserve the lives of God’s chosen people.
In my time of betrayal, I chose love rather than harboring unforgiveness and bitterness. In the past, I had chosen unforgiveness which had made my heart bitter and unloving toward my offender. I had no desire to repeat this sin. I, like Joseph, realized that God used the lies and ill intent of others to call me to a new work.
Choosing love and forgiveness is always right. My personal experiences and Joseph’s account make this truth clear to me. I hope it’s clear to you too.
…I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;