Faith & Reflection
We have all been accused falsely of something at one time or another. The big question is, how should we deal with it?
I recall reading about a young man who was born into some wealth, but whose mother died while giving birth to his younger brother when he was just four years old. Parents are not always wise and the father showed favor to him; in fact, he spoiled the boy somewhat.
The father’s favoritism incited disfavor from his siblings and ultimately resulted in his extrication from both home and family.
The young man however, proved to be both inventive and industrious in his new location and he climbed the corporate ladder, almost to the top. Tragically, at the peak of his career and in the prime of his life, a sexual harassment charge was brought against him.
Though he was completely innocent of the trumped up accusation, he was found guilty and sent to a maximum security prison with no hope of parole.
However, through an incredible series of events, he received a full pardon. And once again, through wisdom, a good work ethic and dedication, he rose to the top of the heap.
And this time, not only was he wealthy and admired by all, but due to his lofty and strategic position he actually became, in a very significant fashion, the benefactor to his entire estranged family, who had recently hit on hard times.
The man’s name was Joseph and his full story can be read in Genesis chapters 37 through 50. It is a story of God’s providence and man’s perseverance…but it addresses much more than that.
In Genesis 41:51,52, we read, “Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh, saying, “Certainly God has made me forget all my trouble…He named his second child Ephraim, saying, “Certainly God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” It is quite clear that Joseph had not only forgiven his siblings, but continued to be faithful to his God.
I would suggest that faithfulness to God preceded forgiving family. Joseph could only forgive his brothers, because he recognized the hand of God on his life, even (perhaps especially) in the difficult circumstances that he had encountered.
Later in the text, when Joseph’s brothers asked for his forgiveness, he tearfully replied, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?… you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose…so now, don’t be afraid…he consoled them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19–21).
We will never entirely avoid accusations, but our lives should be such that the allegations are false, and then, like Joseph, we need to take refuge with and find comfort in God.