The Bible gives us many examples of people who chose love over hurt. These people knew that love never fails.
I think about the young man Joseph. The second youngest of twelve brothers born to Jacob, he was his father's favorite, and everyone in the family knew it. Jealousy got the best of the brothers. They hated Joseph and could not speak a kind word to him (see Genesis 37:4). They grew so jealous they devised a plan to murder him. But one of the brothers, Judah, suggested that instead of killing Joseph, it was better to sell him as a slave.
Think about this: Joseph was not abandoned by strangers. He was betrayed by family. His very own flesh and blood sold him like a filthy, good-for-nothing piece of trash.
Maybe you know well the sting of hatred or resentment. Maybe a close friend abandoned you because he or she was jealous. Instead of encouraging you, believing in you, this person cut you off. I want to remind you that when Joseph's world turned upside down, when all hope seemed dried up, he held on.
Carried far from home, Joseph was sold to an Egyptian official in Pharaoh's palace. Then he was falsely accused of rape and thrown in prison. While in prison, he correctly interpreted the dreams of some fellow prisoners, and eventually he was summoned by Pharaoh to interpret one of his dreams. It was not a good one. The dream meant that Egypt would experience seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine. Joseph also threw in some good advice for the Egyptian leader, suggesting that Pharaoh put someone in charge of the entire nation who would help gather food produced in the good years and store it away (Genesis 41:33-36). Pharaoh was so moved that he appointed Joseph to be second-in-command over Egypt.
During the famine, Joseph's older brothers came to Egypt to buy food. They stood in front of the brother they had sold, but they could not recognize him. Joseph was a powerful man. He held the keys to the world's food supply. And before him stood the very family members who abused him and allowed him to serve thirteen years as a slave and to be put in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Joseph had a choice.
He could either give them as good as they gave him, or he could love like he had never been hurt.
It has been said that the depth of your hurt determines the width of your response. When you have been hurt, your instinct is likely to want to hurt back. Ever been in a situation in which you held the power to get even with someone? Maybe you did, maybe you didn't. Think about what you would have done in Joseph's situation.
Through a series of twists and turns, Joseph eventually revealed his true identity to his brothers. In a powerful moment, he chose to forgive them. His words to them are poignant: "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20 NKJV).
Not only did Joseph heal himself internally, he also healed and saved his entire family.
You have to love like you've never been hurt.
Dr. James Dobson interviews Pastor Jentezen Franklin on the daily broadcast.
On Day 1 of the two-part broadcast, Pastor Franklin shares with Dr. Dobson his early life and decision for Christ, and how he founded his ministry and church.
Then on Day 2, they discuss Pastor Franklin's new book Love Like You've Never Been Hurt and the power love has to transform hearts, heal brokenness, and bring about restoration.