Good morning my friends,
So how grown up are you willing to be? I’m not kidding, it is a serious question and I am asking it of you along with my students; How grown up are you willing to be? There is a time in life when we are permitted to hide behind our mother’s skirt for security, or to hold on to dad’s hand when we need reassurance. These are important times in our life. These are the times when our parents are willing to help us get out of trouble for the silly mistakes we make, like batting a baseball through Mrs. Hill’s front window. However, these times must come to an end and we have to stand on our own two feet.
This is the time when we set aside excuses, get rid of the crutches and stop being Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s son or daughter and become ourselves, with all the responsibilities that come with a grown up life. There is a time when it becomes inappropriate to be hiding behind mom’s skirt or looking for dad’s hand. This is the time when we really learn to live life.
The problem is that most of us are not living life. We are living excuses. We play the blame game. I am this way because so and so hurt me when I was in grade 3. Mr. George made me who I am when he did this or he did that. We are still hiding behind skirts but only now they are the imagine excuses for our failed lives. We are too afraid to stand up and throw away the excuses because if we fail then it would just be us failing; it would not be anyone’s fault.
Joseph had every excuse to play the blame game. He had everything that was important to him ripped away from him. He lost his family, his home, his culture, his language, his position in life, and even his freedom in a matter of minutes. He was a slave in a foreign land and then he was a prisoner in a foreign land. He had so many issues it would be hard to know where to begin. All this because of the jealousy of his brothers. All this because of his brothers.
However, Joseph chose not to play the blame game. He made a choice to forgive and let it go and stand on his own two feet. He could do this because he was a man who matured to the point of being able to see the big picture, God’s picture. Because his head was not stuck in some emotional slop he began to recognize God’s hand in things. He did not blame God. He did turn his resentment from his brothers to God. He avoided this because in standing on his own two feet Joseph also recognized that he could not be focused on himself. Yes, it cost him a lot but look at what God accomplished through it. That was the perspective that Joseph, in an act of mature forgiveness, presented to his brothers and they stood in fear and repentance before him:
"I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-8)
How many of us are willing to be that strong and mature, to throw away the excuses and recognize God’s hand in it all and praise him for it. Not hold a grudge or demand “why me” but to accept that God is indeed wise in all matters, to trust his faithfulness and his kindness, and accept this life he has given us. He has never intended us to be a people to hide behind the skirt of excuses, he called us to be victorious in our lives. Yet, to have victory you have to have battles.
If we are ever going to see God’s purpose in us fulfilled we need to let go and rise up. We need to grow up. We need a larger perspective:
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:7-8)