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When we were living in Kentucky, we would make a pilgrimage to Atlanta during the holidays for visiting our families. This was a time to catch up with each other and let the cousins play. We enjoyed being around each other, but there are times when like most families, misunderstandings can cause major issues. I remember one particular trip when we visited my parents in the morning and then Michael's parents that night. I am thinking that it was Christmas, but it may have been Thanksgiving since we were taking a surprise picture for Michael's parents as a Christmas present.
During this time, we had cell phones that did not work as well as they should have, and posting to Facebook using a cell phone was not very reliable. Along with that, Facebook does not convey emotion and intent behind the words written, so there is plenty of room for posts to be taken the wrong way. And this is where the story takes a turn.
While we were visiting my parents that morning, I was joking around with my parents and decided to make a post on Facebook. My post went something like this: "The holidays are a time when you can visit family and then remember why you moved away." It was a hilarious post for those who understood that this was a joke. Unfortunately, this post did not happen at the time I sent it. Remember that posting from a cell phone was not very reliable and intent behind the words are not conveyed. The post was in a que waiting to appear for several hours.
When did the post finally show up? Towards the end of our visit with Michael's parents, I noticed an explosion of emotions as my post that was meant to be a joke with my parents showed up at the worst possible time and Michael's parents thought I was writing about them! Oops! I think everybody should be able to guess that what happened next was a huge attempt to apologize and it took me a while to finally get beyond that mistake.
There are times when your actions may end up in a place where you never meant for them to go. These are the moments when hitting the reset button is the only option if you want to get beyond the mistake.
Many people know the Bible story of Joseph and his brothers. Jacob won the "Father of the year" when he gave Joseph the coat of many colors as a symbol of the favoritism that drove his brothers crazy. What made it worse was when Joseph would wear that coat anytime he went to the fields to check on them. Did he really have to wear that coat?
As you could probably guess, the brothers took their revenge on Joseph by throwing him into a pit and selling him as a slave. Joseph ended up in Egypt and spent many years as a slave and a prisoner.
At that point, Joseph could have held a grudge and seek revenge against his brothers. He could have turned his back on God and lost his faith because of what happened. But instead of being bitter, Joseph chose to get better. He quickly became a trusted servant until he was falsely accused and thrown into jail. While he was locked up, he became a trustee in charge of fellow prisoners, and eventually ended up in front of the Pharaoh. He allowed God to work through him as he interpreted dreams and warned the Egyptians that a drought was coming.
Since Egypt made preparations for the drought, they were the only place that had food so the rest of the area nations had to travel to them in order to survive. Jacob sent his sons to Egypt in order to get food, and that was when the brothers found out that Joseph was in charge of the distribution! This was a great opportunity for Joseph to seek revenge against his brothers, but he decided that there was a better way.
When the opportunity for revenge appears, there is a better choice that can be made. Even though revenge may be the right move, hitting the reset button can be a game changer.
Check out what Joseph said when his brothers approached him for help:
(Genesis 50:19-21), "(19) But Joseph said to them, 'Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? (20) As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (21) So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.' Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them."
Joseph decided to hit the reset button so his brothers could move beyond their mistake. Perhaps we should try that too when we see the next opportunity to seek revenge.