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Choosing not to be a Victim

The story of Joseph is one of the most inspiring stories in the Bible. Joseph’s brothers resented him and hated him. They hated him because he was their father’s favorite. They hated him because he had been given privileges they didn’t think he deserved. They hated him for his dreams of grandeur. No family with this kind of out of control emotions will remain intact. Joseph’s brothers were men carrying highly explosive emotions.

When the transcontinental railroad was being built, they used gun powder to blast their way through the rock to make tunnels for the trains. They tried for a short time to use nitroglycerin, but it was too powerful and too fragile. A spark from a hammer could set off an explosion prematurely taking lives.

These sons of Jacob had no help to deal with these powerful emotions they felt.  Parents who are aware of what is going on in their children and who ask God to help them can find a way to help. All of these dangerous emotions can be managed if we can learn to respect them and talk them out. But, we need someone who cares enough to listen to us and help us sort it all out and diffuse them.

Joseph was attacked by his brothers when he came to check on their welfare. They beat him and stripped him of his unique ornamental coat and threw him in a dry cistern. They ate the fare he brought from his father and refused to listen to his cries for help. Instead of leaving him there to die, they decided to sell him as a slave to a caravan bound for Egypt. What wounds these brothers inflicted on this seventeen-year-old brother! Could he ever forgive them? Yes, incredibly he did with God’s help.

If anybody ever deserved to be a victim, it was Joseph. He had not done anything to deserve this.  How easy it would have been for him to carry this hurt with him the rest of his life and plan his revenge. However, Joseph never became a victim. The fact that Joseph overcame his hurt and allowed God to help him find his will for his life is amazing.

We all carry wounds, some of which go back to when we were young, and others the wounds are more recent history. Most can name those old wounds like it was yesterday. Victimhood is very popular today, whether it is a victim of poverty, a victim of prejudice, or a victim of bad parenting or a horrible divorce. It is imperative to understand that being a victim is a form of slavery. The hate and resentment are the chains that keep us in the dungeon of dark emotions.

Joseph’s life teaches us that life is full of inequities. But it also shows us that we have a great God who is right in the middle of all that is wrong and if we will trust him, he performs his will, and no one can stop him.

How about turning all your hurt, pain, resentment, and hate all over to God? You may have made some serious mistakes that you can’t get over. You may have no sense of purpose or desire to go on. Maybe you are like Joseph feeling like you are sitting at the bottom of the cistern with even your own family turned away from you. You think you are all alone. If this is you, then turn your life entirely to God. Only God can put the pieces of our broken dreams back together. Only God can make something beautiful of the tragedies of our lives. You are not alone because God loves you!

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