Joseph finally had arrived in life. At least, that is how most of us would feel after having literally risen from pits of dirt and despair, shed real chains (as well as spiritual ones), and miraculously leaped the crater between slave and prince.
Day by day, Joseph oversaw the distribution of the food stores to feed the hungry. As the famine spread, caravans came from neighboring lands, and often Joseph presided over the negotiations. The carefully hoarded grain went out; the treasuries of the Pharaoh swelled with gold, silver, gems and other goods.
Then one day, Joseph found it was his brothers who were bowing at his feet, begging for food. This was the same brood that had fallen upon him, roughed him up, tossed him into a cistern and then sold him into slavery all those years ago.
As they groveled at his feet, not recognizing this powerful Egyptian official as the brother they had so cruelly betrayed, the embers of resentment must have glowed, maybe even flared into a desire for payback.
Perhaps the desire for revenge fought with his love for his long-lost family, however bruised the relationship had been. Whatever the case, there was no swift justice, no lopped off heads rolling in the sand. Still, Joseph wanted to know the hearts of his brothers.
Joseph declared that he would hold one of them hostage while the rest went back to Canaan with the grain they had purchased. Then the hardest demand: they could not return without their youngest brother, Benjamin.
Eventually, they did return with Benjamin, with Jacob’s reluctant approval. Joseph subjected his brothers to more tests, and then, finally, he was satisfied. In tears, he revealed himself: “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.”
By this time, Joseph had won his battle with resentment. Forgiveness flowed from him as he quickly added, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. . . . It was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen. 45:4-5, 8 NKJV)
Where Joseph arrived in his battle with resentment is where we all need to be in our own struggles. We have to let go of betrayal, hurt, anger and the desire for revenge and embrace forgiveness.
The battle with resentment can be won. God is the undeniable catalyst. It worked for Joseph, for me, and for so many others.
Why not you?
Arni Jacobson, Director of Church Expansion – Grace International
This post is derived from Arni Jacobson’s book THE HIGH COST OF RESENTMENT. A more in-depth version of this blog can be found in the book. If you’d like to order a copy of the book for $10, please email Brooke Pierce – firstname.lastname@example.org.