Joseph had a life that seemed totally unfair and unjust. He had every right to be angry and bitter for what happened to him. His brothers were jealous of him, so they sold him into slavery. Can you imagine that happening to you? How horrible he must have felt – betrayed, unloved, alone.
Then he is doing the best with what was given to him as Potiphar’s slave when Potiphar’s wife accuses him of something he didn’t do, in which he was thrown into prison. Can it get any worse?
What we see throughout scripture is that Joseph let what was happening in his life and the circumstances and situations that were out of his control, actually strengthen him, teach him and guide him into the fulfillment of what the Lord had said to him years before in his dreams.
Thirteen years after he was sold into slavery, he came face to face with his brothers, as they bowed down to him, not knowing he was their brother. In that moment, Joseph remembered the dream God had given him when he was 17. There was no way he would have known what the dream meant – it wasn’t until that moment that he really saw what God was doing and partnered with Him.
Joseph was reunited with his whole family and moved them all to Egypt to live in the best land and so that he could take care of them. His response could have been so different. He was in charge of Egypt and he could have hurt his brothers the way they had hurt him, but instead he loved them and provided for them.
When their father died, his brothers were fearful that Joseph would now punish them for what they had done to him so many years before, but again, Joseph responded with love and kindness. He says this in Genesis 50:20 which says this, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Joseph had forgiven his brothers way before he was brought out of the prison into the palace, way before he came face to face with his brothers and father and way before his father had passed away. Joseph had forgiven his brothers during the 13 years of hard circumstances and painful situations he was living in because of what his brothers had done to him.
Unforgiveness is when you are unwilling or unable to forgive someone for hurting, betraying, breaking your trust or causing you intense emotional pain. Unforgiveness can do more damage to you than you think you are doing to the person you won’t forgive. When we don’t forgive, it is like a small seed of bitterness and anger starts to take root in your life and it’s only intent is to kill you from the inside out.
Joseph had every right to be angry and bitter because of all that he walked through – but he is an example to all of us – he forgave, he chose to walk with the Lord and keep focused on what God was doing in the midst of all that was being thrown at him – and God did so many great things with his life.
When forgiveness takes place, it is an open door that we can walk through and then choose to be intentional in the healing process.
Are there people in your life that have hurt you? Are there circumstances and situations that you have faced or are facing now that cause you pain? The Lord wants to meet with you in those places and heal you from the inside out. He wants you to have a full life as you walk with Him into all that He has for you. It starts with opening the door of forgiveness for those who have caused you hurt and pain.
Joseph did not let his circumstances and situations hold him back from walking with the Lord into the fulfillment of what the Lord had for him. Instead of letting bitterness and anger kill him, he forgave his brothers and allowed the Lord to heal him from the pain and hurt they caused. As he did this, God moved him into a position that was greater than Joseph could have ever imagined – and because of that, he was able to save many lives.
I promise you, when you begin to forgive those that have harmed you, the door is open to meet Jesus in those hurt places and get the healing that your heart has longed for since it was hurt.