It’s been a while since I’ve visited F’s church. If I remember correctly, the last time was back in February. I’ve always respected different preacher styles. To me, where one has been trained and gained deeper perspective on our Father’s Word, definitely shapes how they craft and share of His Word, it’s applications, and His love. His love that is scattered throughout our daily interactions; the purpose and being of how important it is that we have love in our daily lives. To each their own, I believe in the Holy Spirit’s power when teachers are ministering His Word.
Today, we went into the story of Joseph. Put simply, Joseph was a favoured son of his father. His siblings were jealous and chose to sell him off as a slave. However, God watched over him through his days. At the end, Joseph became like a “Vice President” of Egypt- saving thousands when the famine struck. Without Joseph at the right hand of the King, the people of Egypt and surrounding cities may have had no hope. God’s plan works in mysterious and crazy ways, doesn’t it?
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Sometimes, we may accidentally put ourselves in the position of God. To those around us, or to strangers. We think that we have the right to judge, or to assume because of enough “preconception”. That we know someone based on those initial moments. But what the speaker challenged us today is: “Is it possible that instead of judging, we instead show compassion and grace?”
Compassion is a difficult topic. In our society today, we’ve been conditioned to always strive. Strive to be better than the one beside you. For if we put in more effort, we’ll see our time and determination come to fruition. We will see success. We may be bound by expectation and desire to achieve, instead of compassion to help those around us. But when Joseph’s brothers came to ask Joseph for food and providence, they were met with Joseph’s confusion and tears. Joseph was confused at their misunderstanding of him. Though they had treated Joseph with contempt and hatred by selling him off as a slave, Joseph still had love for his family. He tells them that he is not God, and does not have the right to judge others. He only had happiness to see his family again, and that he has the ability to provide for them. Compassion may be difficult to give, but it is important to give it- as this will speak volumes in terms of the love you have for the other. It may also become the force that changes their ways; their ability to see the Truth and love.
Grace is something that we may not see much of. It is something that cannot be earned, but merely given. Sometimes, we view wrongdoings as punishable and only righted when the wrongdoer is punished. Similar to the saying “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. But we know from Jesus’ teaching, that this is not how we are to live. We live for instances that are greater than our life here on earth; we live for justification that cannot be merely solved by giving what is received. We give, because we were given so much more.
The speaker shared how back in University, he had been working crazy shifts at his part-time job. One time, at an intersection, the speaker had been very sleepy- he ended up taking his foot off the brake and collided with the car in front of him. Feeling as if he had committed a wrong, he got out of his car with his insurance papers- ready to remedy whatever damage he had done. However, the other driver merely looked at him, and told him “It’s alright. Go on your way”. Funnily, this happened two other times to the speaker, and each time: the response was the same. Three times he was shown grace by the other driver. He was pardoned for his wrongs, when he did not deserve to. Similarly, we were pardoned for our sins, when God sent His one and only Son to die on the cross for us. To cleanse us of any wrongdoings that may have littered our clothes; we were made clean in God’s eyes.
I loved the ending of today’s talk. For grace has always remained a beautiful gift and concept in my mind. I have a few friends who continually show me grace. In the face of frustration, of time spent together- they care for me as a sister or brother would. Taking care of and ensuring I am well-fed, well-clothed- altogether, that I am well. They would go out of their way to care for me. In the midst of getting to know God personally, I also truly felt the depth of His grace for me. This grace, that not only allowed me to become a daughter of His, but also to be saved by Him. To be freed from the ensnares of death and complications. To see His love for me in saving me and giving me a new life. To see the change within me, as compared to 5 years ago. A love that is rooted within me, because I choose to place Him at the centre of my being. For without the grounded foundation that His love places in my heart, I am certain that I would not be where I am today. I thank God for his continual grace in so many aspects of my life; whether it be in relationships, my family members, or the decisions I make each day. Though mundane small decisions may be, the attitude and thoughts behind each one matter to me. They show me my condition of how my vision is for the work He is doing in my life.
I thank God that I was made new. That I can recognize and remain grateful for the things that I have. For those around me. That by showing who You are to me, You have filled my heart and led me in Your love to those around me.