Week 8, Day 2

Resisting Revenge

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” - Gandhi

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
(Genesis 45:1-2)

Betrayal by those we love brings a distress that reaches deep into the soul. It tends to wrap its tentacles around our conscious emotions until they are raw with pain. Fear, sadness, confusion, and anger all begin to fight for our every thought. Left to themselves, these raw emotions will begin to rule. When we are ruled by an “emotional soul” it can open a door to the darkness of revenge. Before we know it, our decision making has been distorted in a way we never saw coming.

Months have passed since Joseph first recognized his brothers as they bowed before him asking for food. Joseph’s first reaction was to accuse them of being spies, and he threw them all in prison for three days. But it was on the third day that Joseph decides to release them. Something had changed within Joseph. In just three days, the raw state of emotional revenge in Joseph had been removed by the “God he feared”. Now that he could reason more clearly, he chose to forgive his brothers. Joseph’s response of forgiveness rather than revenge would in turn allow him some seventeen years of restoration with his father Jacob and his brothers. Genesis 47:27 tells us that the Israelites, Joseph and his family, would all settle in Egypt in the land of Goshen where they acquired property and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.

When we find our way to forgiveness, the grips of sorrow, anger, confusion, and fear all begin to slowly weaken. We find our emotions a little more at peace. This can take three days or three months and sometimes even years. It may happen across the desk from a counselor, or maybe it’s just you and God riding in your car at midnight as you’re crying out for answers. For me, it was sobbing face down in the carpet of the upstairs bedroom. But, in one moment, the moment we resist revenge and choose forgiveness, our soul begins to heal. Slowly we realize that the pain no longer controls our thoughts. The bitterness leaves us. The fear is replaced with faith. The confusion is erased by a clearer understanding, and we are stronger having come through it all.

If we choose an eye for an eye, it will leave us all blind - blind to what God will do for us and in us if we trust His plan. And He ALWAYS has a good plan.

“See that no one repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:15)

Reflection Questions

• Have you ever walked through a season of pain caused by betrayal?

• Have you been able to walk in forgiveness?
Diane served on the Heritage staff for many years as our financial administrator. She is a gifted Bible teacher, small group leader, and intercessor.
Posted in ,

No Comments