Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Last week we looked at the choices we are presented with by life.
The poster child for suffering that I discussed was Joseph, because I believe no matter what we have gone through, no matter how deep our suffering, Joseph has something he can teach us in terms of dealing with adversity.
We started looked at the beginning of Joseph’s problems and the way his brothers treated him. We left off at the point in our story where his brothers sold him into slavery and he was taken to a foreign country to be sold off as a slave. Many of today’s health care professionals would predict that Joseph would have had numerous kinds of emotional problems, mental health issues and long-term anger problems.
And yet that was only the start of Joseph’s problems.
You don’t have to be the sum total of your bad experiences. If all you are is your experiences then no one can blame you for making bad choices when you have had bad experiences. But you are more than the sum total of your bad experiences and you cannot allow yourself to be defined by them.
You can make choices independent of those experiences. You can choose and think beyond your bad experiences. And you can shake the horrors of negative treatment and rise to be a compassionate and understanding person; not someone angry and mad with the world.
When Joseph got to Egypt he was sold as a slave into Potiphar’s house. God blessed him while he was there, but temptation came looking for him. It might be better for some of you for me to say trouble came looking for him.
His boss’s wife tried to seduce him and he refused her advances. Joseph was a young man of principles. When you operate by strong moral principles life does not always reward you.
Sometimes it makes things worse.
That’s how it ended up for Joseph. Because he resisted the advances of his boss’s wife she framed him and he ended up in prison. Seems as if things are going downhill for Joseph many people would say.
It’s tough when you do the right thing and end up being punished for it. Life is not always fair, but there is someone who is larger than life, greater than life and who is better than fair, beyond fair and He in time will right every wrong.
Life is a process, everything doesn’t happen at the same time. Life is not like a television sitcom where all problems are solved in a half hour or even an hour. Wrong isn’t always remedied instantly or as quickly as we would like, but it is best to do the right thing anyhow.
Joseph ends up in prison and in prison he is still a good guy. He is not bitter, resentful or angry with people.
When I do right and someone treats me wrong; and I get mad and decide I am no longer going to be nice to people any more, I have allowed that person to convert me into behaving the way he or she behaves. There is no hope for the world if we let the bad guys convert us or bad behavior change us.
But it’s all a matter of choice. And the choice is no matter what the situation, you can let it make you better or let it make you bitter.