Choose Forgiveness Over Bitterness – August 25, 2016
Genesis 50:15, When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
The past few weeks I’ve been teaching a series titled, ‘Navigating Life’s Journey God’s Way!’ Sunday, we looked at 5 keys to success in life, found in the life of Joseph, from the book of Genesis. If you missed the first three keys, you can find them on my daily blog, www.johnmarkcaton.com.
The fourth key to Joseph’s success was that he always chose forgiveness over bitterness. Joseph could have stayed bitter all his life at Potiphar’s wife for her false allegations. Joseph could have stayed bitter at his brothers all his life because they sold him into slavery. But, Joseph chose forgiveness over bitterness which allowed him to look forward to his future instead of always looking back. In Genesis 50:15, Joseph’s brothers came to him and asked for food. Yes, those same brothers who sold him into slavery. Yes, those same brothers who were responsible for him being in Egypt instead of at home. By now, Joseph had excelled in Egypt and was second only to Pharaoh in the land. In other words, Joseph was a big dog and could pretty much do anything he wanted to his brothers, but instead of bitterness and revenge, Joseph chose forgiveness and told his brothers, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?” The truth is, had Joseph stayed bitter all his life, he would have never been in such a high position in order to bless his brothers.
So if your bitter about something in your past, let it go and choose forgiveness over bitterness. That’s the road that leads to success.
Think about that and have a blessed day!
John Mark Caton, Ph.D