“After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. ‘Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,’ they said.

So they sent this message to Joseph: ‘Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.’ When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. ‘Look, we are your slaves!’ they said.


But Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.’ So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” Genesis 50:14-21 (NLT)



Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery in his youth, and Joseph experienced being falsely accused, thrown in jail, forgotten and overlooked, and then elevated to the second highest rank in Egypt. Joseph’s story was full of twists and turns, but God was working everything together for good. Instead of carrying bitterness and resentment in his heart, he understood that God was ultimately guiding him. When the famine hit Canaan, Joseph’s family came to Egypt searching for food. Joseph was gracious to them, and they relocated to Egypt and all their needs were met. When their father, Jacob, died, the brothers were concerned. These men were the same people who had mocked Joseph, thrown him into a well to die, and sold him into slavery. Was Joseph carrying anger and revenge in his heart all of these years? The brothers devised a plan, and Joseph’s heart was broken over their situation. He had reconciled the events in his life through a different lens. He understood that God was working the good and bad together to accomplish a greater purpose through him. Since Joseph had reconciled his life events with God, he didn’t have room to carry bitterness in his heart.


When things happen that seem unfair or we don’t understand, sometimes we have to step back and view the situation through a different lens. When we view life events through God’s sovereignty and reconcile our hearts with God, we don’t have to carry the anger, bitterness, or revenge that the world might suggest we seek. Instead of “getting even,” we understand that God will right the wrongs against us. We can’t control whether or not people who have wronged us will be remorseful, but we can always control how we respond. Like Joseph, we experience freedom when we trust God to justify, and we walk in grace and forgiveness. Joseph had a choice, and he could have responded differently. His response indicated a changed heart. We have that same choice as well. When we view life through a  lens that understands God is working everything together, we can walk confidently no matter what circumstance we face.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About Hona Amer

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