What Would You Do?
Picture this scenario with me. You are one of many siblings and you have been singled out by your parents as the favorite. It is not enough of an annoyance to your brothers and sisters that you are the favorite, but you also tell them that you’ve had dreams that you show that you will achieve greatness in the future. Out of jealousy, they took you away from all that you love and sold you to be a slave.
Yet you didn’t give up hope and your perseverance pays off and you are giving the highest office in the land, second only to the king himself, just as you have dreamed. Then one day, as you are doing your job, you see your siblings coming to you asking for help. Now they don’t recognize you, but you know them and you remember how they treated you. What would you do?
The Purpose of Authority
When you are given authority, it can be very easy to use that power in order to get even with those who have wronged you in the past. However, is that the reason that you were given the power in the first place? That was the dilemma that Joseph had in Genesis 42 when ten of his brothers came to Egypt to buy food.
Revenge or Not Revenge
Joseph, in his position, could have been very cruel toward his brothers and made them pay for all the hardships that he had suffered. Instead, Joseph decided to test their integrity. Why would Joseph do that?
Joseph understood that he was given his position not to fulfill his own wants. He remembered the dreams that God gave to him and recognized that his position came from the Lord. Realizing who gives you authority, makes you think of ways of how to honor the One who gave you it.
The purpose of the Joseph’s test was to determine whether or not the brothers’ regretted what they did to him. In Genesis 42:9-11, he began his test by accusing them of being spies. In their defense, the brothers declared to Joseph that they were honest men.
I wonder if Joseph saw the irony of their statement considering what they did in the past. Apparently the same thought came into the brothers’ minds as well for Genesis 42:21-23 revealed that they still felt guilty for the wrong that they had inflicted on Joseph.
Effects of Not Admitting Sin
When we don’t confess our sins, it becomes like an untreated wound. It will fester and then weaken a person’s soul. When Joseph saw the effects of this infection and didn’t enact revenge on his brothers. The test he gave them showed that they were punishing themselves already for what they did.
What to Learn?
What should when we are given authority? Joseph used it as an opportunity for his brothers to feel the convictions of their sins. He didn’t use it to seek revenge because that would not bring honor to God. When we are given authority, we are to use it as God would use it; to minister and care for others. Even if that means reopening old sins so that they could be confessed and forgiven.