How faith in God gives us power to embrace self-respect and extend forgiveness

Joseph’s statement of faith: “ God turned into good what you meant for evil.”
Genesis 50:20 TLB

At New Hope Community Church where I worship, we’ve been looking at the Old Testament story of Joseph. Although treated with immense injustices in his teenager and early adult life, he did not become a victim of his circumstances. Instead, he made these amazing choices.

  • When his envious brothers sold him into slavery, he did not despair but recognized God was with him.
  • Instead of cowering before a rich and powerful sexual predator, he fled.
  • When falsely accused and thrown in prison, he did not linger in self-pity but held onto his confidence that God was for him.
  • Instead of embracing a victim identity, he focused on God’s accepting love and chose self-respect.
  • Instead of building resentment toward the prison guards who were over him, he used his administrative skills for their benefit.
  • Instead of reacting with a vengeful spirit, he forgave his brothers and at the same time confronted them with their wickedness in a way that caused them to repent.

How sad it is, today, when women, men, or children are told that the proper thing to do is put up with abuse, deny its effects and move on. Instead of giving victims of abuse the support and power they need to flee, churches often tell them they must stay. No woman, man, or child can do this and thrive in their faith. If we are Christians in this culture, we must have the kind of faith, attitude, and action that Joseph displayed and Jesus practiced.

Unfortunately, I have sometimes ignored messages and actions from others that are hurtful. In my poem, today, I talk about a more mature choice. I’m so thankful for supportive friends and a husband who values and supports me. Most of all, I am thankful to Jesus. It’s through my relationship with him that I find healing, wisdom, strength, courage, and love. Through him, I’ve discovered my true identity and I embrace it with joy.

 When I’m stuck in a rut of anger, suspicion, and resentment,
 How do I get back to self-control, trust, and contentment?
 I have a little talk with myself
 I ask Our Father for help
 I call some friends and ask them to pray
 I take positive action, without delay
 In this way, I show respect for myself
 And enjoy mental and emotional health
 I may be a victim but I have a choice
 I can accept my lot or make use of my voice
 I can call for support and refuse to remain
 A captive to any human’s chain
 I can prove who I am by doing good
 I don’t need to be hostile and start a feud
 Our Father in heaven sees the unjust
 He fights for victims of prejudice.
 Jane Ault

4 thoughts on “How faith in God gives us power to embrace self-respect and extend forgiveness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.