Hey Church Family!
We've all made mistakes with our mouths, many times. We've all said things we wish we hadn't. But we've also had times when we've built people up. We've used words to encourage and uplift people around us. I hope these last few weeks have been challenging, yet good for you. It's a reminder that we all need to be quick to listen and slow to speak.
This week, I was reminded of Joseph from the Old Testament. He was a guy who had every reason to be bitter about his situation. His brothers sold him into slavery. Their prank went too far and was no longer funny. Just imagine the pain that came as he was led away, begging for them to change their minds. Or how about Potiphar's wife, who accused him of rape. He did nothing wrong, and still found himself in prison. Then while in prison, he's forgotten and passed over. A guy who should be thanking him, forgot all about him. If there was ever a person in history who could be angry, bitter, and distrusting of people—it was Joseph.
Yet there is one little factor in Joseph's story that indicates he set aside his bitterness. We're reminded multiple times in Joseph's story that God was with him (see Genesis 39:2 and 39:21). What's more interesting to me, is that Joseph lived his life as if God was with him. Joseph responded to Potiphar's wife, "How could I do this and sin against God?" He said to Pharaoh, "I cannot interpret your dream, but God can." Potiphar, the jailer, and Pharaoh all recognized that God was with him. Over and over again, we see this amazing feature in Joseph's life—God was with him and he lived as if God was with him.
I believe that is central to dealing with bitterness. Understanding that God is right there in the hurt, God is present in the pain, and that God feels what you feel when those words were spoken to you, about you, and over you—is crucial to getting rid of all bitterness. God knows because he is with you.
The question you must answer is this: Will I live my life as if God is with me? Or will I shake my fist at God and say, "God, how could you let this happen to me?" How you answer that question will make the difference in what you do with the bitterness you're carrying.
Who knows, there may be a day when your words will determine the destiny of the person who hurt you. They may stand before you, and you'll have an opportunity to say something to them. In that moment, the memory of what they did to you, or said about you will flood your mind. But you'll have a choice to make. What will come out of your mouth? Will it be words that build them up? Or words that tear them down?
Joseph took his cue from the one who was with him. He said to his brothers, "Don't be afraid. Am I God? You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it." (Genesis 50:20) Might I suggest that do the same—take your cue from the one who's with you.
Together in Christ,
Notes from the Staff @The Woods