The words of Matthew 22: 37-39 are famous ones in which Jesus tells us to love God and love our neighbors. These, according to Jesus, are the greatest commandments of all, yet they’re not always easy to follow. Take the example of Joseph. Here’s a man who has been horribly mistreated by his brothers, thrown into slavery, misjudged and thrown into prison. Yet, instead of being bitter, Joseph chooses to love. His love for God, and for his neighbors, brings him out of the slums and into a position of great power and authority. At this point, he has the ultimate test. His own brothers come back into the picture, asking for help. Joseph had every right to be bitter and vindictive toward them, but instead, he holds out arms of love and forgiveness. What a beautiful example for all of us. Instead of holding onto the past, Joseph chooses to see the good that’s come from an awful situation. He tells his brothers,
“Don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:5-8).
What a forgiving, loving heart! Instead of “getting even” with his brothers, Joseph chooses to save them from the famine.
Have you ever had a situation in which you looked back and saw God at work? How did you respond to your circumstances after that?
For me, one situation that comes to mind is losing my job. I have to admit that I’ve had times since them that I didn’t think to highly of my former bosses. I was hurt and angry that they would let me go.
This angry attitude really doesn’t get me anywhere; what does is looking for the good that’s come from that situation. For one, if I still had that job, I probably wouldn’t be writing to you now. I love writing; I look forward to my time with my coffee and laptop every day. What a blessing that God has given me the time and resources to do this.
Prayer: Lord, help me to love and forgive those who have hurt me. Please help me to look for the good in every situation.