Learn from the Past

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Have you ever been betrayed? The urban dictionary defines betrayal as: “the most hurtful thing anyone can do.” A few years ago, one of my daughters and I were betrayed by a relative. The betrayal broke our hearts, and it took several months to get over the pain.

We are currently in a series called, Rise, and have been learning about Joseph. Joseph’s brothers were very jealous of him because he was their father’s favorite son. They sold him into slavery to be rid of him, and Joseph suffered a great deal because of their actions. He had a choice to make — he could be bitter and angry at his brothers for the rest of his life and focus on seeking revenge, or he could put his faith in God throughout his terrible ordeal. Joseph chose God and his wisdom. In return, God blessed him, transformed him, then used him to achieve his will.

Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes everything to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

God allows us to suffer so we can grow closer to him. Suffering helps us to grow in faith, compassion, and wisdom. The injustices Joseph suffered over many years prepared him to go from slave to Pharaoh’s second-in-command. This led to an encounter with his brothers after many years.

Genesis 42:6-8
6 Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where are you from?” he demanded. “From the land of Canaan” they replied. “We have come to buy food.” 8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him.

Can you imagine Joseph’s shock at seeing his brothers? I wonder if all the anger and bitterness caused by their betrayal came rushing back. He had the power to severely punish them or even order their deaths. But even in the midst of that emotionally-charged situation, Joseph chose to react wisely.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said wisdom invites us to reflect before we foolishly react or even carry a grudge. We receive wisdom by asking God for it. Joseph did not let his feelings blind him into making a rash decision. He asked his brothers good questions to test whether they had changed. He took the time to find out the truth so he could make a wise decision. Joseph’s brothers were remorseful, and as difficult as it may seem, he forgave them.

Unfortunately, reconciliation after betrayal is not always within our control. Sometimes we have to let the relationship go because it is hurtful and abusive. After several months, I contacted the relative who betrayed me and my daughter. I felt God led me to call and extend an olive branch. I listened and asked questions. Sadly, we were not able to reconcile, but I have extended forgiveness and I don’t let the thoughts of bitterness dwell inside of me.

Questions:
Have you been betrayed? How did you respond to the betrayal? How do you seek wisdom during difficult times? Do you turn to Jesus for wisdom during the heartache?

Next Steps:
Read and meditate on the life of Joseph in Genesis 37 and 39-50. Journal on how Joseph responded to the betrayals he encountered and how God was with him every step of the way. Note all the blessings God showered on him during his difficult times. Think about your own life and journal on how God has transformed you and blessed you during difficult times.

If you are struggling with extending forgiveness to someone or are trapped by any others hurts, habits, or hang-ups, check out Celebrate Recovery. It is offered online each Friday night at 7:00p at CedarCreek.tv/online.

Prayer:
God, I praise you that you are with me at all times and that you are eager to share your wisdom with me. As it is written in James 1:5 (NIV), “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives it generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Help me to always seek your wisdom and not react with foolishness. I am so grateful that you meet us in the middle of our mess with grace and forgiveness. I praise you for the step-by-step transformation your Spirit brings and that you fill us with your wisdom and grace. Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


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