Saving Grace

It is better to love your enemies rather than to hate them

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.” – Genesis 45:4-8

God, in His own time, will reward those who trust in Him. Therefore, we should not allow anger and resentment to control our lives. It is better to love our enemies rather than to hate them.

Joseph’s brothers disliked him because his father favored him. Consequently, they devised an evil scheme to get rid of him. They sold him into slavery, hoping that they would never see him again. Then, they lied to their father that Joseph had been mauled by wild beasts.

Jacob had mourned for his beloved son Joseph, thinking that he had died. However, the Lord visited Joseph during his trials and tribulations and kept him.

God had greater plans for Joseph. Many years later, He used him to do great things, not only for Egypt, but for the world, including his father’s household.

In being sold into slavery, he was humiliated by his brothers. He was further humiliated when he was falsely accused and innocently thrown into prison. Yet, in all his suffering, he remained faithful to the God of his forefathers. He trusted God and God delivered him.

In the above text, Joseph has an opportunity to take revenge upon his brothers for their evil act toward him. They visited Egypt during a great famine in the land to buy grain, not knowing that their lost brother, Joseph, was the governor and administrator of the grain they sought to buy.

This visit by the brothers was an ideal opportunity for Joseph to avenge the maltreatment he had received from them. But, instead, this most powerful man, the most powerful, next to Pharaoh, humbled himself and wept loudly before his brothers.

He apparently spoke to them in Hebrew when he revealed himself to them. One would think this was a moment of great joy. A moment to rejoice. But, instead, that was a moment of fear and heart searching.

The young boy, who was about 17 when sold into slavery, stood before them an older man, who had the power that could condemn them to death.

However, in a forgiving way, Joseph reminded them that they had intended evil, but God turned it into good to fulfill His plan. So, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Mind you, God did not cause the brothers to commit sin, but he turned their evil into good.

The brother’s evil plan had come full circle. Joseph did not hold resentment against them. Instead, he lovingly forgave them.

How could he not spite them for their evil deed? Because he trusted God to fight his battle. For that reason, he could not seek revenge but instead forgiveness.

As Christians, we are called to respond in the same way toward those who wrong us. Joseph’s life was a living example that God is on our side and that He will give us justice. Even though our enemies may malign, misuse us, and cause us pain and suffering, God will give us justice in His time.

For Joseph, it seemed to be quite a long time. He had many ups and downs and could have gone the other way, but he kept his faith in God. Even when he had the opportunity and the power to get revenge upon his brothers, he would not play into the hands of Satan.

Instead, he displayed love and compassion. Scripture says: “the meek will inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:11). God, in His own time, will reward those who trust in Him.

Therefore, we should not allow anger and resentment to control our lives. Remember, it is better to love your enemies rather than to hate them. Let the peace of God continue to reign in your heart. Amen.

 
• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; E-mail: lutheranchurch@coralwave.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.   

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