“And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought (meant) evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish (provide for) you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”Genesis 50:18-21
I think of my life as a teenager and how twisted and backwards my thinking was. I walked around with a chip on my shoulder and looked for any opportunity to defend myself against any “wrongdoing” that I perceived was done to me. I was quick to be offended, and I never let things go. I did not hold myself to the same standards, however, and while I had no patience for mistreatment against me, I cared little how I treated others.
I was a senior in high school when I was asked after the first semester to not to come back to finish the school year. I was not kicked out per se, but I simply was asked to not come back. Students had to accumulate 100 demerits to be kicked out of the school, but the board reserved the right to dismiss a student if they felt his or her actions merited it. I had gotten in trouble for doing donuts in my car on school property, and these shenanigans placed me at 65 demerits for the semester. I felt I still had some wiggle room as I was 35 demerits away from expulsion with a week to go in the semester. At the end of the semester, the demerits would reset and I would be back to a clean slate. I promised myself that I would walk the straight and narrow after my demerits reset, but little did I know I would not get the chance to see this come to fruition.
I was told on a Monday that the board was reviewing my case and I would know by Friday if I would be asked to leave or be permitted to stay. The school board was meeting on Thursday to make their final decision, but I felt the fact it was going to the board meant I was doomed. It turns out I was right to think this as I was asked on that Friday to not come back. I was really upset and maintained my plea that I had not done enough to be kicked out, and that they had done me wrong. I felt like the victim in all of this drama, even though I had accumulated 65 demerits and was far from making positive contributions to the school. I told my Dad I thought they were unfair, and he simply said, “If you were so right and so good, then they would have kept you and not asked you to leave.” I wanted my dad to feel sorry for me and take my side, but he kept it real with me like he still does to this day. I was reaping the consequences of my sin.
I think of Joseph and how he lived his life. He is someone you would say had strong character, and someone who walked after the Lord. According to the world’s standards, he had every right to be bitter and complain that things were not fair, but you never once read about him doing this. He never demanded justice or cried that doing right did not paid off. He stuck to the stuff and did what was right no matter what happened to him or what the circumstances in his life were. He lived a life that was pleasing to God, and was even able to keep a godly focus and trust in God. He knew God was in control and trusted Him even when things did not make sense. In all the evil that was done to him, he still realized God was at work and meant this for the good of many including himself.
What are you facing in your life today that seems unfair and unjust? Are you demanding justice and your rights, or are you trusting that God is at work? Are you living a life that is pleasing to God? Are your circumstances due to your own sins and the ensuing consequences? We often think we are being treated unfairly when we are simply reaping what we have sown. Will you allow yourself to be mistreated for God’s purpose in your life? Will you trust that He is at work? Will your godly attitude in adverse situations be a light that leads others to Him? May our lives draw others to the One who can save and may our testimony bring honor and glory to the Father. Will you impact eternity or will you wallow in self pity? God help us to point others to Him instead of pointing others to ourselves.