The bible tells several life
stories. Only a few are told with as much details as
that of Joseph from the Old Testament. There must be
a reason God wanted us to know so much about this
impressive young man’s life.
Maybe it was so we would have
an example of someone who actually did what Jesus
would tell his followers to do. "Love your enemies;
do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse
you; pray for those who treat you spitefully. When a
man hits you on the cheek, offer him the other
cheek, too; when a man takes your coat, let him have
your shirt as well." (Luke 6:28-29)
This is a hard scripture. It
defies common sense. Enemies are to be hated, not
loved. Those who hate you should face pay-back time.
A curse given should prompt a curse returned; and
which of us really prays for are those who treat us
What we need is a picture of
someone who did it. So, God provided one.
The story of Joseph was one of
the first Bible stories I remember from my
childhood. It is a story of a coat of many colors,
going off to Egypt with a slave caravan, the
unfairness of being wrongfully jailed, the wonder of
being able to interpret dreams, and being promoted
to second in command under Pharaoh. The story has
everything a child could want.
however, it's a deeper story of forgiveness,
reconciliation and restoration. But before we get to
the forgiveness, we need to know what to forgive:
2. A significant trauma
3. An unfair moment
exactly that. Joseph concluded, "You meant to do me
harm, but God meant to bring good out of it."
Can you imagine
going up to someone who is suffering great pain -
perhaps a child has had an accident, or their
marriage has ended or their parent has died, and
saying, "God means this for good?" That would be
cruel and insensitive. Imagine if it had been the
brothers saying, "we meant to do you harm, but God
meant to bring good out of it." Now it sounds
self-serving, excusing their bad behavior. No, the
only one who could come to this conclusion was
Joseph. It was something that ONLY Joseph could say.