At church last night my God Friend Numero Uno Pastor Betsy shared a sermon on betrayal and Joseph. How Joseph had LITERALLY been thrown in a pit by his own brothers, betrayed to the point of his brothers plotting to killing him and on the insistence of one brother had his life spared but was instead sold as a slave. I did a bit of studying on this after getting home and due to his brothers decision Joseph didn't have a very happy ten years.. quite terrible actually, due to their choices Joseph was jailed, for no wrong doing where he stayed for three years and along with other injustices. Shorten story: God was with Joseph this whole time and brought him out of the pit, a ten year long pit, and launched him to being the second most powerful man in Egypt. Sometime after this the land fell into fathom, during this time Joseph's brothers had to come before him for grain, and for a few years Joseph played games with his brothers, having them prisoned a few days here a few days there, not allowing all the brothers to return to their father, eventually Joseph was going to keep the youngest son, but Judah spoke up and asked to take his place, so as not to break their father's heart. That broke Joseph's heart -- and he could no longer play games with them. He revealed himself to his brothers, and there was a tearful reunion. Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery, explaining that God had turned it around for good by making him able to save the family from the famine. He also told them that the famine would continue for another 2 years, so he had the whole family relocate to Egypt, where he could provide for them. When his father arrived in Egypt, he rushed to meet him and had a very tearful and happy reunion.
As you can see that after Joseph was betrayed to such a horrible degree, for simply being cocky, and the fathers favorite, he paid a price much higher than was deserved or warranted. Joseph had EVERY right to send his brothers away penniless and hungry, or had them jailed for years. Instead he gave the brothers their grain but always with them paying a price of another brother being jailed and not returned to their father, I am sure there were other games he played. My point here is that even with God at his side Joseph still reacted to the original betrayals of his brothers. This is a very human reaction. It took years for Joseph to understand that complete forgiveness was needed and then inviting the brothers to Egypt. The brothers conceded their hatred of Joseph as he became their provider during the times of fathom. It hit me though that it took the brothers NEEDING Joseph for their attitudes toward him to change. After they left Joseph NEEDING.. needing a hand after they threw him in a pit, needing saving after he was enslaved and jailed.. where were the brothers? They turned their backs on him, only coming back when they needed something. I have to say that Joseph is much stronger than I.
Don't get me wrong, I am strong enough to forgive, that is the only way to find peace in oneself is forgiveness (don't ask me when I will forgive MYSELF.. that isn't a point in this story it is about forgiving others for betrayals) but I am not Joseph, I am not that strong as you will soon read, I can forgive but I do not have to allow my brothers back into my territory right now, I do not have to provide for them right now. My pit requires all of my attention, I do not need to be repeatedly kicked back to the bottom as I work my way up by continous betrayals that cut like broken glass on already burned skin.
Betsy turned the story to an old Indian story of wolves, in looking for it online tonight I found another adaption that fits how I feel and I am going to throw in a donkey for good measure..
"An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."
I have thought about this.. I have also thought about the fact you can feed others wolves, when a wolf has no regard to being kind or loving to you, and you are expecting that and your wolf produces disappointment, sadness and anger.. the other persons wolf gobbles that up like a left over raw liver. Like a mini little win.. "Whoo my wolf is stronger than yours and I am going to continue to have your wolf feed me your emotions." There is just a small issue with my wolf, Joseph brothers threw my wolf in a pit 6 months ago, I am tired, beaten, broken and hungry. I don't have the energy to be any kind of good or bad wolf.. I have be relying on trusted wolves to toss me bits of love, to keep me sustained until God shows me the way out of here. But I have learned something while in this pit, the hands I thought would reach down the most to help me didn't.
I think of it like this.. my pit is really deep I understand that.. my pit is my depression, my sadness, there is no one but God that can get me out of this, this job is not for a human, but it does take human help to get up a little higher in the pit. It takes talking, crying, hugging, walking, watching movies, beside me in the pit. You can't reach down there and just yank me out.. it doesn't work that way. No amount of "Come to my house.. or Let's go do this.. " will get me out of this pit. I don't even have the luck to have a brother than can come along and sell me for slavery. But what does work is the people that come and toss love in my pit. Look out everyone here comes the donkey!
One day, a donkey fell into a pit. The animal cried and whined for hours while his owner tried to figure out what to do. Finally, the farmer decided that since the animal was old, and the pit needed to be covered up anyway, he'd just bury the old donkey right there. He got a shovel and started filling in the pit. The donkey kept up its wailing, but then fell silent. After an hour of furious shovelling, the farmer paused to rest. To his amazement, he saw his old donkey jump out of the pit and trot away!
At first, when the donkey realized what was happening, he cried even more piteously. But then the wise animal hit on a plan. As each spadeful of dirt hit his back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up on the growing mound of earth. Eventually, the mound grow high enough for him to jump out of the pit.
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the pit well is to shake it off and take a step up. We can get out of the deepest pits by not stopping and never giving up. Just shake it off and take a step up.
Right now.. I am not strong enough to shake off the dirt.. it hits me in the face and gets in my eyes and I cry. The only steps I have been able to use in this pit is love.. the more love tossed in the higher I am coming out of the pit, but all it takes is one wolf to come by with words of betrayal and to scratch dirt back in my eyes and I fall to the bottom of the pit. So where am I going with all of this. There are options, from my pit I can continue feeding the bad wolf that comes around selfishly to gobble up my emotions of hurt, sorrow and disappointment, I can continue to allow the wolf to scratch dirt on me, I can have one of the good wolves put up a gate and not allow the bad wolf near my pit, or I can stand on my piles of love and as the bad wolf returns to kick dirt in my eye I can look at it eye to eye and say "You Will Not Defeat ME. Now leave. Leave me Alone."
As I wrote before, Joseph in the end of his journey did forgive his family and in turn took care of them during their time of great need, but that was years after God had molded him and mentored him to deal with his emotions, how to respond and how to react. I don't have the years with me yet, I may one day but that is not today, nor do I have the strength to fight any bad wolves, so for now right this minute I have to close my door and walk away. I have called out for specific doors to be opened many times since I have been in this pit looking for love, kindness and understanding and much like Joseph was met with betrayal, I will no longer be calling out to these doors and feeding that wolf with my betrayed emotions.
Where in your life might you need to walk away, not respond, or not react? Which wolf is running your life right now?
Are you the one in the pit right now? Do you need love thrown in? I'm your girl I have lots of it to give. Is there a wolf scratching at the edges of your pity .. look them in the eye and DEMAND they LEAVE.
My final thought is.. to the wolves that like to betray and kick a little dirt.. I pray I am as strong as Joseph when you fall in a pit. Notice I didn't say IF I said WHEN because don't we have many pits we fall in through out life? I pray at the time I will be able to invite you back into my territory to take care of you, but for now.. you are just forgiven.
Much Love to you All