If anyone had the right to bear a grudge, it was Joseph.
From favored son to despised slave in the house of an Egyptian official – Joseph must have wondered what he had done to deserve this. His father’s lavish attentions had stirred up a burning jealousy in his eleven brothers, who attacked Joseph and sold him to Egyptian slave traders. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Joseph was then wrongly accused of something he didn’t do and thrown into prison!
“I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews,” Joseph related to a fellow prisoner, “and here also I have done nothing that should have put me into the dungeon” (Gen. 40:15). Rejected and abandoned by his family, alone and forgotten by the world, Joseph could have sunk into despair and self-pity.
Not A Victim
But Joseph refused to be a victim, trusting instead that God had not abandoned him. We see that “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love… whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper” (Gen. 39:21). Joseph was eventually released from prison and promoted to second-in-command over the entire nation of Egypt!
The day came when Joseph’s brothers, facing starvation because of a severe famine, came to Egypt seeking food. When Joseph revealed his identity, his brothers feared he would take revenge. As the second most powerful leader in Egypt, he could have had his brothers enslaved or killed.
“What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” they worried (Gen. 50:15). Nervously the brothers pleaded for forgiveness.
Intended for Good
Weeping and embracing his brothers, this slave-turned-official assured his brothers that he had already forgiven them. “Do not be afraid!” Joseph told his brothers. “Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good” (Gen.50:20).
How about you? Are you allowing yourself to be a victim of your circumstances? Are you giving in to hopelessness and despair? Choose today to forgive those who have hurt you, trusting as Joseph did that God has a greater purpose than we can see. Forgive and release your pain to the Father. If you let Him, He will use even the lowest points in your life for His good!