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From the texts today Joseph in his wounded love, had to avoid bitterness and learned how to forgive. He had been repeatedly hurt, but he didn't develop a trace of bitterness. His own brothers had planned to kill him, but sold him into slavery at the last moment. As Potiphar's slave, Joseph's life is a classic lesson on how to overcome bitterness. He was faithful and upright, but was falsely accused of attempted rape by Potiphar's wife. He spent years in prison and was forgotten by a man he had helped, who could have pled his case with Pharaoh. Yet in spite of all this, Joseph never grew bitter toward God or toward those who had wronged him. In order to heal a wounded love, one has to take a big step to learn how to forgive. To forgive others, we must take our proper place before God and express the proper attitude toward others. Joseph's attitude was the key to his great success in life. Let's check out his attitude
toward God.

To forgive others, we must take our proper place before God. When Joseph's brothers approached him, his spontaneous response was to weep, which showed his tender heart. Then he reassured his brothers and asked: “Am I in God's place?” (50:19). Joseph's question is a good one to ask yourself when you're tempted to withhold forgiveness or to seek vengeance against someone who has wronged you: Am I in God's place? Joseph was powerful in the world's eyes, but he knew he was never big enough to take God's place. To take our proper place before God involves three things:

A. We must allow God to be the judge of all. The Lord says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Rom. 12:19). He's the only competent judge, the one who knows the thoughts and intentions of every person's heart. We need to trust Him to deal rightly with each person. Most of us want God's justice for the guy who wronged us, but God's mercy for ourselves. But to love our neighbor as ourselves means that we will want God's mercy for him, just as we want it for ourselves.

B. We must humble ourselves under God's sovereignty. When terrible things happen to you, you have two options: Either God is sovereign and, for some reason, He allowed it to happen; or, God isn't sovereign and this one slipped by Him. The Bible declares that God is the sovereign God who “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). Nothing, including the evil deeds of wicked men, can thwart God's plan. Joseph saw this clearly. He says to his brothers,“And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (50:20). What a great perspective to have when people wrong you!

C. We must believe that God is good in all His ways. “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” That's the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Bitterness holds your soul in bondage and hinders God's blessings from flowing to you and through you. Forgiveness frees you to experience God's abundant grace and to make you a channel of that grace even toward those who wronged you. God has not put anyone through anything He Himself was not willing to experience. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to seek our welfare, but was rejected and killed. He suffered, the just for the unjust, in order to offer us God's forgiveness. You may never in this life understand the why of your wrong treatment. But Jesus understands, because He suffered much more than any of us ever could. If we will learn to submit to His sovereign goodness when we are wronged and assume an attitude of humility, honesty in love, and caring toward those who have offended us, we will grow to know Him.

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