If there’s anyone in the Old Testament who could have justified a grudge, it would have been Joseph. As Jacob’s favorite son, his jealous brothers sold him to slave-traders, which led to a life of serving others against his will in a foreign land. That event and others could have easily produced a vindictive spirit within him…but it didn’t.
His story is one of the most amazing in the Bible. Joseph had a stubborn love for God that remained, even while shaken. Instead of looking back to the past, his faith looked forward to the future. God gave him favor in the eyes of those around him and he quickly became governor. However, in the midst of the favor, the events of the past suddenly broke through into the present. His brothers showed up to buy food and Joseph struggled to keep himself together. He was overwhelmed with emotions, and when he revealed himself to them they feared the worst. They feared “pay-back” and punishment, but Joseph offered forgiveness and restoration. He loved them and said this:
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” – Genesis 50:20 NKJV
Grudges look backward, faith looks forward. Which way will you look today?