Friday, December 16, 2011

Genesis 50:20-21

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. (Gen 50:20-21)

I’m going to have a difficult time leaving this passage because it is so powerful! Today, rather than focus on God’s amazing ability to use EVERYTHING that comes our way - even EVIL things - for good (UNBELIEVABLE!!) - I want to focus on the choice of Joseph. You know, it’s one thing to be able to view a betrayal from God’s perspective, but it is another to then choose to respond in God’s way.

“And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

Joseph didn’t just choose to do a mental exercise and put a happy face on the situation; he chose to respond with the heart of God. He actually spoke kindly to them! I find this amazing, but I have experienced God’s power in a similar situation, so I know it’s possible. After all, I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Phil 4:13). I have had a few times in my life in which I’ve been betrayed (worse, watched my daughter be betrayed), and have had to seek God’s power not only to forgive, but to ACT forgiving toward the people. There is no way in our own strength that we can demonstrate love toward someone who has bitterly and purposefully hurt us, unless we take it to God. I have found Him so faithful to give me the desire and ability to ACT OUT forgiveness - even when I could not FEEL forgiving. In fact, the LORD showed me years ago that forgiveness is NOT a feeling - it is an action! God doesn’t ask me to feel all warm and fuzzy toward those who hurt me, but He does expect me to act out forgiveness as His child. The miraculous part of it, is that when we take actions that demonstrate forgiveness, the feelings follow!

There is a companion verse to Genesis 20 that I believe is the other key Biblical principal that God wants us to learn from Joseph’s story. Jesus spoke these words from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:33-35)

Forgiveness is the overriding principal ALWAYS.

The reality is that ALL of us are miserable, lost sinners! (Rom 3:23) That’s our nature! So why are we surprised when people who are in darkness act that way??? People are going to hurt us, let us down, betray, and abandon us - because they are imperfect people! The problem is spiritual, not personal. In fact, in Ephesian 6:12, we are told that the root cause of our struggles is spiritual warfare:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The conflicts we have with people are always spiritual at their core. If we can soak in these ideas - if we can look at our situations with the mind of Christ and rely on His strength to act out forgiveness as Joseph did toward his brothers, we will experience the victory and see God using even hurtful betrayals for good - for the saving of many lives. And isn’t that what we want to see?

WOW! God’s Word is amazing!



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