The plans of discarding all that is right and true
The one night stand
Think outside the box that you find yourself in.
Joseph had to. He had to look for more than childhood dreams. They just weren’t working out how he had envisioned them. The prison box that he was held captive in did not house the dream that was in his heart.
All he had left were hopes and dreams, and you know? They were probably too small.
What box, what pressure cooker are you living in? Perhaps, the very thing creating all the pressure is forming you, for the better, the best.
Don’t you just love/hate when someone gets removed from a situation then they begin to downplay, minimize, or outright falsify the story. “It wasn’t that bad they say.” This forms a pattern and often happens in a cycle of abuse. Once they are out of the terror of the moment, they capitulate and regress on their resolve, and back on the merry-go-round, they go again.
Joseph didn’t get that chance. He moved from bad to worse, to worse, to worse again, and then he was plunged into the worst of it all. He didn’t have time to capitulate or regress. Can you hear him, “You intended to harm me…you actually meant to hurt me… How come you hurt me, you are my brothers? Why don’t you love me?” then around it would go again. Joseph’s cycle was dealing with the facts, not pretending they didn’t happen.
There was disdain that the brothers had built toward Joseph; legitimately it could be called hatred. Joseph was his father’s favourite and his brother’s bane. When Joseph was sent to check on his brothers, and they spotted him coming a long way off, they plotted to kill him. Well, most of them.
Joseph was sent by his father to see how the brothers were making out with the family business of shepherding. They had relocated many kilometers away, and in a day with no communication resources, Joseph was the communicator between home/dad and his sons.
A couple of these brothers had previously committed mass murder, it was in their history, and now all but one brother was ready to kill Joseph. Rueben pleaded and they compromised by attacking Joseph, stripping him of his robe, and throwing him into a waterless pit. No sooner did Joseph hit the bottom that they sat down and ate their meal. Heartless. It was just another day in their wilderness, tending sheep.
The brothers, with the exception of Rueben intended to leave Joseph there to die.
Joseph was guilty. Of what? He was guilty of previously sharing his dreams and goals as he tried to find a place within the family dysfunction. He was also guilty of receiving an inordinate amount of favouritism from his father. He had the robe, the Dreamcoat to prove it. Joseph was the firstborn son of Rachel, the wife that Jacob had loved more than the other wives.
Animosity was not new to this brood. The family’s distain and contempt had been growing for a long time.
Unaware and totally naive, Joseph walked straight into the ambush. He was the easy target of a family that was full of anger, disunity, unrest, and deception.
Insult to injury, the brothers had a twisted moment of conscience. They decided, rather than kill him, sell him to a traveling caravan of Ishmaelite’s.
Joseph sold for eight ounces of silver. At today’s price, his life was worth $147.52.
For Joseph, this was not a good day. However, he was able, through thirteen years of processing, to get an accurate perspective. But, it was equally not a good day for his brothers. They just didn’t know it yet.
Much later Joseph said this before he died, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
I don’t measure the amount of water I drink in metres or feet, neither do I build my house by quarts or litres. The right quantifier, measuring stick, is imperative. It makes all the difference and gets the job done.
We need to discover our personal, emotional, GPS. Who we measure against is most revealing.
Already in the previous blog, I tried to discuss the futility of comparing ourselves with someone else. It just produces a false reading.
However, if we compare ourselves with the ultimate source, with God, we get an accurate, though maybe uncomfortable reading, every time.
There is a huge advantage here.
An accurate attitudinal positioning makes for a great foundation in life. It provides for admitting our lack humbly, but at the same time to fully embrace our strengths. The playing field is levelled, we are humanly equal, and both the rose-coloured glasses and the dark shades of shame are eliminated. We no longer need to prove ourselves to anyone. We can breathe deeply once more.
Because the one we measure against has demonstrated in abundance His acceptance and love for us regardless of where we fall on the scale. He gave us Christmas.
You needn’t have been alive very long to suffer the emotional effects of conflict, trouble or misunderstanding. These effects have probably already lasted way too long.
When you have pain from mishap or wrong done, and you have wrestled with the hurt from a life that has gone sideways or soured, you have got to do something. Somehow you have to process your shock, hurt, remorse and grief.
It is Personal
Pain and hurt were brought home to me in a poignant and remarkable way. I had taken my family through the shame, regret and humiliation of bankruptcy. I had failed in business. As a Christian, I was against this failure and everything that had transpired to cause my life to fall apart. Caught in the middle and found guilty, I was reaping the full harvest of a life gone wrong, mine. I was in complete consternation.
I had to move away from family and home to find work, just to make our ends meet, and, possibly find a way out for us. This separation only added to the guilt of my circumstance. I was alone with my thoughts, and I didn’t like them.
I had rehearsed the events that led up to bankruptcy ad-infinitum. I took that rehearsal to the Lord in prayer many times. I felt lousy, condemned and abundantly guilty.
I had owned my mess in its entirety, but the weight of it continued to oppress me. I knew it was my fault, and I knew I had to live with it.
After seven months apart I was able to relocate my family to our new home and try to start new.
One more time I cried out to God and was asking him to forgive me. Then something strange and remarkable happened. I heard his response to my thoughts, in my thoughts, and it shocked and halted me. He said, “I can’t.”
What do you mean you can’t?
I immediately thought I had heard wrong, and so I challenged the thought. “You are God, who always forgives. Something is obviously wrong with my hearing and, or, my understanding.” I reprocessed the part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” I had forgiven and repurposed to forgive again. I came again, “You are God, who always forgives.” He responded, again in my thoughts, “I can’t forgive something you are not guilty of.” I was perplexed, hopeful and still halted.
I began to understand, and from that moment, began to find a lasting peace.
I had taken care of and owned “my stuff” for which I was guilty. I had thoroughly dealt with it in openness and confession but “it” was only part of the problem. I was stuck because I had seen “it” as the whole problem. There were four more ‘causes’ that worked into the complexity of the problem. It was only when I completely dealt with all five of these sources that I was able to walk out in freedom. I was forgiven, clean and on the path to restoration.
Five Sources of Conflict
The sources of conflict were: Myself; Others; The World Around Us; The Devil; and God.These are the five areas that I needed to understand and now need to communicate with you so that you can make sense of your life and completely deal with your hurts and remorse of your past. They are the precise points where you can experience victory; a victory uniquely yours. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they [you] may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV) [Inserts, my own.]