I found him wearying. He incessantly “shared” stories of the personal wrongs done to him with anyone who would listen, and frankly, it had become a burden. So I started avoiding him. Yes, I know that’s not what Jesus would do. But it’s what I did.
I know others in far worse circumstances than he—yet they’re a delight to be around. Their lives exude joy! Sure, they’re wounded, and they know it. But they don’t bathe in that woundedness, and others are drawn to them because of their joy. We cringe from one attitude. We’re attracted to the other.
People must have been drawn to Joseph. His bosses certainly appreciated him. We read his epic story in the last 15 chapters of the ancient book of Genesis. Sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph so impressed his master Potiphar that he was given control of all his household business (Genesis 39:1-6). Wrongfully charged with sexual assault, Joseph landed in an Egyptian prison (Genesis 39:10-20). Even at the bottom, Joseph couldn’t help but rise to the top. Eventually, Pharaoh appointed him second in command of all Egypt.
It was God’s blessing that brought Joseph these successes (Genesis 39:2-3). And note that he didn’t get those blessings by whining about all the injustices done to him. No one respects that, and Joseph commanded respect. Decades later, the deathbed blessing Joseph’s father bestowed on him recalled the heinous deeds perpetrated against him. “Archers attacked him savagely; they shot at him and harassed him. But his bow remained taut” (Genesis 49:23-24). Joseph never gave in to a defeated attitude. He wound up rescuing his family and preserving the line from which Jesus would ultimately come.
It’s okay to grieve about injustices done to us. But we don’t need to stay there.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Kings 6:1-38
What does the opening portion of James say about suffering and trials? (James 1:2-4).
Do other people seem to enjoy your company? How do you react to personal injustices? What’s the difference between being in denial about your circumstances and choosing joy despite them?