In our last blog post, we discussed “Dealing with Deep Hurt.” We took a look at the life of Joseph, as noted in the Book of Genesis. We noted three things to help us deal with the painful situations that happen in our lives.
We first saw that we cannot let the hurt define us. Many people allow these situations to knock them off course. Joseph would not allow what had happened to him to define his future. Neither can we.
The second thing we noted was that even in the midst of the pain, we must hold on to our faith in God, as Joseph did. We must remember that, like Joseph, no matter what happens in life, we are not defined by those things and God has not abandoned us. Joseph held on to that fact and so must we (Heb. 13:5).
The third thing we mentioned was that we need to forgive. Joseph was willing to do so. He could have become bitter and angry at his brothers, and being in a very powerful position in Egypt, he could have treated them harshly.
But Joseph himself, in Genesis 50:20, acknowledged that though his family members meant to do evil to him, God used it for good. He had come to the place of forgiveness. To move on, we must forgive, relinquishing the situation to God. Forgiveness frees us emotionally and spiritually. We forgive as we have been forgiven (Eph. 4:32).
Let us look at a couple more thoughts for dealing with those deep hurts. Besides the three just noted as a review, these last two can help us as we move forward in our lives.
A fourth help for dealing with deep hurt is – stay the course. As noted in our last blog, we can be derailed by hurt and pain. But God has something better for us than being defined by what has happened. He has a purpose for our lives.
Sometimes, when we have been hurt and derailed, we simply refuse to continue on. We focus so much on what has happened that we may miss opportunities to help others, to serve God. God has given us talents, gifts and abilities to be used to touch the world around us.
Joseph could have given up in prison. He could have been so consumed with hatred over the hurt done to him that he stopped looking to the future. Like Joseph, we must recognize that in the midst of the flame of pain and hurt, we have a future. God has something for us to do and we must be open to His leading.
Joseph would become second in command in Egypt. Maybe God wants to use us to help someone going through a difficult time in their life. Or maybe He wants us serving Him through a ministry in our church or in the community.
He may have something for us to do and He is trying to show us what it is through His Word and others, but because of the hurt done to us, we have simply stopped moving forward. Do not let what has happened stop us from being the person God wants us to be. It is a choice. Like Joseph, we choose how we will deal with these hard situations.
A fifth and final thought on dealing with deep hurt is – learn what we can about ourselves. This may seem odd, but when we go through those tough, hurtful times, it can help us develop traits and character in our lives.
Let me explain. In Genesis 37, Joseph brought a bad report about his brothers to his dad, Jacob (vs. 2). His brothers were not too happy about this. We know nothing of the details surrounding the report and his brothers may have been doing some stupid things, but the fact that he ran to his father and told him about his siblings did not sit well with them.
Not only that, his dad made him a special coat of many colors, and the obvious favoritism Jacob showed to Joseph did not sit well with the family (vss. 3-4).
He then told his brothers about a dream he had in which they would one day be bowing before Joseph as a ruler over them (vss. 5-8). Joseph sharing with them was probably not the best idea.
The point is that over time, though Joseph was hurt deeply and no doubt treated poorly by his brothers, for they were wrong in what they did to him, his character developed and he matured as he grew.
The way he handled his family later in Genesis shows that even in the midst of the pain, Joseph learned about his faith, developed his character, and learned how to handle people in the right way.
We all can learn lessons about ourselves when hurt. In these times, God can grow us spiritually and teach us things we need to know that will help us as we move forward.