Then the man who is governor of the land told us, “This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home. But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. Then I will know you are honest men and not spies. Then I will give you back your brother, and you may trade freely in the land.” (Genesis 42:33-34)
Read: Genesis 42:18-43:34, Matthew 13:47-14:12, Psalm 18:16-36, Proverbs 4:7-10
Relate: More than a decade back, I escaped from what was unquestionably the worst working situation in my life. Technically, I tendered my resignation but my boss was just as happy to see me go as I was to leave. I am fairly positive that if I had tried to hold out another week I would have been fired instead of quitting. Most of the conflict was just a clash of personalities. He was not the best of employers and anytime I was talking about the situation with my close friends, there was plenty of legitimate things to complain about. On the flip side, I was definitely not the best of employees. I was young, arrogant, and immature. Our personalities and styles clashed and I pretty much checked out from any concept of “team” or “compromise” pretty early. That said, I was burned, hurt, and more than a little bit bitter when I left that place.
In my heart and in my mind and with a mentor I worked through my issues. I owned up to the fault I shared in the situation. I forgave my former employer for the way I was mistreated. It was a process that took a few years but I honestly felt like I had forgiven him. Then I bumped into him at a conference in Buffalo NY. We exchanged pleasantries (Hi, nice weather, isn’t it? Well, see you around) and went our separate ways… quickly. About a year later our paths crossed again in Poughkeepsie, NY. Then shortly after that, we did so a third time in Brooklyn. This time we did lunch and had a real talk. Although we aren’t best buds or anything close now, we can get along fine and even occasionally interact through social media. I had forgiven him and he me a long while back, but we both needed to see that a change had happened. We needed to “test the waters” a bit before moving forward.
React: It is through the lens of that situation, and similar ones I have heard from friends, that I see Joseph in how he interacts with his brothers. The way he treats them can only be considered harsh. He locks one brother up for close to a year. He berates, threatens, and falsely accuses the others. Finally, he threatens the youngest brother with death. They had all admitted that the youngest was the favorite just as Joseph once had been and he wanted to see how the others will react. We rightly look to Joseph as one of the heroes of the faith but, man, I wouldn’t suggest him as a model for good family interactions.
Joseph is human. Although he could easily say, “What you meant for evil God planned for good” he still needed to process his healing. He needed time and multiple interactions confronting that “demon” before he could fully move forward. He needed to see that they had changed before allowing them back into his life.
I think sometimes we beat ourselves up unnecessarily. We have forgiven a person or a situation but there still occasionally rises emotions or memories we thought we had left at the cross. We don’t realize that full forgiveness doesn’t always immediately mean complete healing. Let me say that again: full forgiveness doesn’t always mean immediate complete healing. Let’s not feel an unnecessary guilt when the process of getting over something takes a lot longer than moving past it did.
I want to be healed. I want to be whole. Although I can forgive others as You have forgiven me, sometimes there are still memories and scars that persist. Give me the courage to go through the often long and painful process of healing so that they will not be a negative influence on me. Give me the wisdom to do whatever is necessary to see that no bitter root burrows into my soul. Help me to heal so that I can be an agent of healing for others.
16 thoughts on “January 21 – Getting Over It”
I totally agree! Forgiveness is an ongoing process.
Similar situation here…and yes, forgiveness is a process. Great way to explain it!
What a post that touches me with strength. Sometimes I think I’m healed of a couple past hurts but deep down they still surface. Time and prayer!
This was an awesome message!
Thanks BJ!!! You have a great way of teaching that is incredible. I have walked through similar waters and it took me a long time to walk it out and yet when God knew I was ready it was a wonderful experience to know I was healed and that He took me and showed me that I had truly forgiven. WOW what a great teaching….
In my experience, If there is any fault on my part I do my best to admit that to, the one I might have infringed upon. That has accelerated the healing tremendously. I like this a lot. Thank you!
I love this! I’ve been writing on forgiveness lately and I agree—it takes time to heal. When bitterness creeps in, we need to pray for the Lord to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within. Excellent post!
I can relate. I worked with a man who my family had shared compassion towards when he was in a time of need. He repaid our kindness with insults about my family when I started working for him. Saying demeaning things about my father and brother really stirred anger and hatred in my heart. After maintaining control for a month or so, I blew up. Nearly everyday at work he would insult me or a family member, and in exchange I would yell and scream in his face. It really took a toll on my faith. Although, now in my mind I say I hate him, in my heart I say I love him. forgiveness is still attempting to come full swing. What I mean by my statement is that I have every reason to hate this man, but in my heart I can not allow myself to be consumed by hatred. Good read, may the Lord help us maintain self-control.
Things like this are often much easier to talk about than to live out.
Thanks for your wisdom and honesty, backed up with Biblical Truth. I had never thought about the difference of getting past something and complete forgiveness. Another great post.
Thanks for sharing! I had a similar workplace experience, I am still in the need to forgive stage. You sharing your story gives me hope.
Someone said once that forgiving is not the same as trust. I can forgive someone but they need to earn back my trust. Perhaps that was what Joseph was doing- figuring out if his brothers were trustworthy. He had already forgiven them but still did not trust them. It is something I have had to go through. I have forgiven an individual many times but found out that they could no longer be trusted. I feel no animosity nor hold no bitterness, that I am aware of, but have learned that they should stay at arms length because they have not changed. One day perhaps, they can be trusted again.