Have you ever tried to re-tell a familiar story from a different angle or perspective? That was the challenge for this week. To re-envision my story of being hurt, and telling it in a way that realizes I’m not a victim, and that I can learn and grow and be a wiser, more loving person because of what’s happened to me. I take responsibility, and stop being a victim.
I was trying to think of a biblical example, and immediately the story of Joseph (in the Old Testament book of Genesis) came to mind. Joseph’s brothers did terrible things to him: beat him, then sold him into slavery. He was a slave, then ended up in prison, before eventually being freed and becoming 2nd in command only to Pharaoh.
Years later, Joseph, looking completely unrecognizable – probably like an Egyptian? – is stunned to see his brothers entering the room, seeking grain with which to feed their families back home. Now, Joseph does give them a bit of a hard time, understandably, but in the end he reassures them of his forgiveness, then shares his perspective on his past (Gen. 50:15-21), “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (v.20).
Joseph wasn’t saying that what his brothers had done was all right – he names it as evil: they intended harm. But what Joseph now realizes, the perspective he now adopts, is that sees God at work in difficult, bleak times. God was at work through all of that to place Joseph in his current position, so that he could save many lives. The hardships had given Joseph opportunities he otherwise would never have had, and made him into the person God intended him to be.
What about your hurts, and mine? What can we learn from them, to move onward and even use those injuries in ways that can honor God and show his love to others?