Story of Forgiveness- Transcript
Have you ever been wronged by someone close to you? Perhaps an mean or some unkind words were spoken? How did that make you feel?
Have you ever been ostracized, or excluded from friendships and relationship, without any say in the matter? How did that make you feel? How does experiencing pain like that shape our view of the world? How does it shape our attitudes, our emotions, our thoughts…..
Today, we’ll officially launch our 6-week study of Joseph entitled- A Road to Forgiveness. I’m STZ your host for today, and I’m truly excited and honored to be with you today.If you had the opportunity to join us last week, then you’ll recall Spencer Tyler giving us an excellent introduction to the story of Joseph, and if not I encourage you to go check that video out.She not only sets the stage for the entire study, but also touches on her own struggle with forgiveness, so again, check that out.
In this week’s reading of Genesis chapter 37 and 39, Joseph’s story really hit close to home. Not only did I empathize with Joseph’s mistreatment, but I also found myself at times sympathizing with his older brothers. You see Joseph’s father Israel, left no doubts about which was his favorite son, favoritism rang strong in the house of Jacob.
Growing up, I had an average size Jehovah’s Witness family. Born the 2nd of the 3 sons, you might say I had a minuscule middle child complex. You see, I knew from a very early age, that while my father loved all his children, only one was his true favorite. I was not his namesake, his JR, his pride and joy, and I stood no chance at competing for my father’s affection….at least not biologically.
My parents, like most Jehovah’s Witness parents, praised their children for excelling spiritually within the organization. Such things as a high monthly field service average, giving a good talk or volunteering for service, sparked praise and adoration from him. As the years went on, my older brother grew tired of completing spiritually and began to question if this was truly serving God. A short while later, he was not only disfellowshipped from the congregation but also kicked out of our family home and we were barred from having anything to do with him. My father’s once favorite son had become an outcast at the age of 17, just like Joseph.
As I continued reading Joseph’s account tears began to form in my eyes, I realized, that in a similar but different way, I allowed favoritism and jealousy to allow me to plot against him in my heart. I was as guilty as any of Joseph’s brothers. Reuben, Joseph’s eldest brother by Rachel, spoke out against the wicked plan his brothers hatched. But I even didn’t try to stop the terrible that was happening to him. I simply put my head down and continued on as if nothing had changed.
We had no communication with him for the next two decades.
And just like Joseph, my disfellowship brother spent 22 years in a spiritually foreign land. Today he is a 39-year-old Ex- Jehovah’s Witness, transitioningChristian, that is still struggling to find his way after being abandoned and sold by those closest to him. While excommunication is a biblically founded principal, the way we shunned him was inhumane and emotionally torturous. However, By the grace of God, He is rebuilding spiritually and we’ve even been able to start to repair our severed relationship. While I’ll never truly understand his story in full, I am grateful to God that Joseph’s account is recorded for our benefit, in holy scripture. His story of forgiveness is one that I’m sure most of us have lived at one time or another.By studying the story of Joseph we learn that forgiveness can lead to freedom. Freedom ultimately can lead to God.
Well, that just about brings us to a close for this weeks study. I’d like to thank everyone for joining us this week. I hope that you all enjoyed this week’s reading as much as I did. And looking forward, next week we’ll be hosted by Spencer Tyler as she covers Gen chaps 40 and 41, detailing Joseph’s earlier life in Egypt. As well as coping with lost dreams and hopes, and the road to forgiving the governing body.
Questions From Joseph- The Journey To Forgiveness – A Bible Study by Melissa Spoelstra
- Did you grow up in a family where you felt that one sibling was favored over others? If so, where did you fit in a scenario?
- What would you say are damaging consequences of favoritism, that you experienced firsthand?
- Who has contributed to the hurt that you are currently feeling?
- What does that pain look like in your world right now? How are my thoughts, attitude, and emotions affected by the actions or inactions by this person?