All of us feel hurt, offended, or vilified at times. What are we to do about it? The story Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, gives insight. Genesis 50 gives the account.

There was a famine in Israel where Joseph’s brothers lived. Wisely Joseph had the people of Egypt stockpile food for a forthcoming famine. In desperation Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to beg for food. They did not recognize the ruler before whom they bowed and begged as being Joseph, their wronged brother. He did recognize them and eventually revealed himself. They were mortified and trembled in fear for their lives.

Instead of playing the “hurt card,” the Scripture phrases his response as,“you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Joseph in effect said, “God used what you did to me to make me who I am.”  If I had not been a slave I would not be Prime Minister.

In response to his brothers begging for mercy Joseph said, “Am I in the place of God?” Meaning God, not I, is your judge, He is the one who forgives. Later in Scripture God said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” Joseph trusted God to give them what they deserved. When we refuse to forgive we are playing God.

Joseph not only didn’t seek payback, he showed no bitterness. Bitterness is a self-inflicted wound. Being wronged results in us being bitter or better.

Joseph knew his God was bigger than his hurt and He forgives. 

Some say, “I just can’t forgive the person.” Often those same people under more pleasant circumstances quote the Scripture, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If so, you can forgive.

A frequent response to personal injury is, “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.”  Forgive does not mean to forget. It means I will never hold it against you again.

In the model prayer is this statement, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” When we forgive we invite God’s favor. When we refuse to forgive, we have no reason to expect God’s forgiveness.