Showing Kindness When We Have Been Hurt

December 3, 2012 | Tags: , ,

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, “If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the suffering we caused him.”

So they sent this message to Joseph, “Before he died your father gave a command: ‘Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers’ transgression and their sin—the suffering they caused you.’ Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when their message came to him. Then his brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!”

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Genesis 50:15-21

We have all suffered hurt and pain at the hands of another. We have all tried to reconcile ourselves by hurting the person back in return. It is the natural human response. But God has a different response.

Joseph suffered many things at the hands of his older brothers. They threw him into an empty pit and sold him into slavery. These actions led to Joseph eventually going to prison for a crime he never committed. Joseph certainly could have harbored vengeance and anger towards his brothers for the 13 years he suffered due to their hateful actions. But the Lord was with Joseph and kept his heart from turning to bitterness. And as a result, Joseph prospered even during his 13 year affliction.

Many years later, when Joseph became second in command of all of Egypt, his brothers were put in a position where Joseph had the power to take revenge. But what did Joseph do instead? He showed them kindness and mercy, realizing God used what evil his brothers intended for good. With amazing spiritual insight, Joseph realize that through his affliction, God was doing a greater work–equipping Joseph to serve Him and to save all the Jewish people from certain death through a massive famine that had affected the whole region.

We cannot see all that is going on behind the scenes of our lives and our relationships with others. God is always out to do a greater work in the world, even when people plot evil against one another. What can we do as followers of Christ when someone plots evil against us? Place ourselves into God’s loving hands to take care of us, show kindness and mercy to the one who hurt us, and know God will show His glory and greater good in the situation. It may take many, many years for this to show itself, just like it did with Joseph and his brothers. But know that it will in the end. God never forgets any evil that happens against His children. We can walk through the evil by trusting God and obeying Him. Even in evil, we can have peace knowing God is in control.

By Courtney Silberman

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