How Long Does it Take to Forgive?

You’ve probably heard about Joseph and how he forgave his brothers for selling him as a slave. With all the outrage about human trafficking today, it’s hard to image how someone could forgive such an atrocity. I wonder how long it took Joseph to reach that point of forgivness?

Joseph started out as a favored child. I think he probably had TPS, Teacher’s Pet Syndrome. If you’ve ever been a teacher’s favorite, you may have noticed—the only one who likes you…is the teacher. Kids probably made fun of you behind your back. They may have even plotted your assassination on the playground. Joseph was the favorite son of his father. His father gave him a coat of many colors, a distinguishing gift that set him apart. Joseph wore it proudly like a letterman’s jacket.

I believe God gave Joseph a dream when he was a young man to motivate his endurance. Twenty-two years of hardship needed a vision. At seventeen, Joseph wasn’t ready to lead. God knew the road ahead and He knew Joseph would need some reassurance that adversity was preparing him for his future. Joseph was the favorite, but that didn’t make him qualified. Endurance would qualify him.

Joseph’s dream empowered his resolve. When adversity encountered vision, Joseph was determined to wait. When his dream was delayed, Joseph served to the best of his ability. When adversity lingered, perseverance formed his character.

Even in slavery and prison, the Bible repeatedly says that the Lord was with Joseph. You may not be in prison, but the Lord is with you, too. God is with you when you are suffering. He is with you when your children stray or when your husband walks out. God is with you when your job is threatened or you lose someone you love. He is with you in the middle of pain or when you get a bad report from the doctor. God is with you when you endure false accusations, trials and adversity. So don’t give up. Keep pressing on! Somehow God uses adversity to uncover your purpose. 

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