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But he (the Lord) said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” …For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:9-10 (NIV).

We are all weak. Weaknesses can be: physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual. A weakness or ‘thorn’ as Paul called it is not a sin or a vice or a character that you can change. It may be a physical limitation, like a handicap, a chronic illness, naturally low energy, or a disability. It may be an emotional limitation, such as a trauma scar, hurtful memory, a personality peculiarity or a hereditary disposition. In addition, there may be innumerable uncontrolled circumstances that weakness us such as financial and relational limitations.

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Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come, “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel’ (Gen. 49:1-2 NIV).

Jacob‘s last words concerning the character and continuing development of God’s promises to Israel through his twelve sons are full of prophetic significance. When Jacob blesses his 12 sons in Gen 49 he also outlined their descendants. Each prophecy was based on clear understanding of the character and traits of each son, e.g. Rueben’s instability, Joseph’s faithfulness, etc.

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We have to admit that we live in a world that is hurting.  People are bitter and angry at one another. Often we hurt others not meaning to hurt them, but because we are hurt! We are hurt for many reasons, but when our hurt turns into hate and bitterness, it cripples us.  We become so negative and dull that we have nothing positive in us.

The Old Testament records the story of Joseph and his brothers. Israel made a ‘coat of many colors’ for Joseph whom he loved. The siblings were hurt at the deliberate preference showed by Israel towards Joseph. They could not express it to their father; so they executed it on their weak brother. They sold him to the Ishmaelites. Eventually he became second in command to the Pharaoh. Later a big famine brought his brothers to Egypt for food. Joseph met his brothers who had wronged him.  It was an appropriate time for his revenge.  But he didn’t take revenge.  He showed them love and mercy.  He forgave them. 

When Joseph forgave his siblings who was most benefited? His siblings did not have food; Joseph did not have a family.  By forgiving, Joseph now had a family.  His children would have uncles, aunts and cousins.  Forgiveness is good for others, but it does much for us first. 

Joseph’s brothers probably thought they did the right thing when they sold him off to the businessmen.  What do we do when people hurt us and think that they are doing the right thing?  Some people hurt us not because they want to do us harm, but only because they cannot control themselves.  An uncontrollable anger could cause many dangerous things.  In a fit of anger, a mother hit her one-year-old child on the head with a spoon.  That caused permanent brain damage; as a result the girl on growing up could not do many things as others of her age. The mother was unable to forgive herself. Sometimes people hurt us even when they mean to do us good. It actually happens when we take important decisions in life.  Parents influence you to decide on something you are not sure of, but you still do it and latter realize the decision was a bad one.  Can you blame your parents?

If we think that unless the offender asks for forgiveness we will hold it against them, then it will only make our life difficult. We deprive ourselves of the right to be free from hate and bitterness.  The remedy for hurt is within us. Some think they are over and above all these things and nothing can hurt them.  They may be right.  But if they are just denying their true feelings, and suppressing them; it can create a catastrophe. 

To deal with our hurts, it is very important that we accept that we are hurt.  We then have to realize that we do not deserve to be hurt.  Every soul has the right to be free from hate. We need to forgive for our own sake. When we do not forgive we are the loser. Forgiveness is powerful – it does away with bitterness and gives us positive energy. Forgiveness is therapeutic – it brings back the joy of life Matrimony

When Joseph reconciled with his brothers he told them – ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’ (Gen.50:20). Joseph would not have become second in command to the Pharaoh if he had not come to Egypt in the first instance. Thus instead of brooding over your hurt, if you look deep, you will see some positive outcome.

Copyright © Jan 2008. Benjamin Paul

Author: Mr. Benjamin Paul is pursuing his Ph.D studies through Sampurna Montfort College.

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Friendships are often tested by separation and silence. This is true in your relation with God too. There may be times in life when we feel forgotten and alone. It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life – food, friends, family, health and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

In periods of seeming separation, you may feel God is angry with you or he is disciplining you for some sin. In fact sin does disconnect us from intimate fellowship with God. We grieve God’s spirit by disobedience. But often this feeling of abandonment from God has nothing to do with sin. It is a test of faith – one we all must face

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