Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus was notifying us that there are always going to be opportunities for us to get offended. However, He was establishing the truth that we don’t have to go down the road of becoming hurt and wounded. It is easy to love others when they love us and share the same points of view, the same beliefs, and the same values. But what if our differences threaten relationships with those we love? The world does not prioritize the value of those relationships, but God does.
While Jesus was on the earth, He emphasized the importance of relationships. But Satan’s plan has always been to separate people and ultimately destroy relationships by leading them down the road of hurt and bitterness. We must always choose love over hurt. The God kind of love never tries to get even or seek revenge. It always forgives.
There are many examples in the Bible of people who chose to walk in love and forgiveness in very difficult situations. The primary example is Joseph who was betrayed by family, sold into slavery, and carried off to a different country. After arriving in Egypt, he was sold to Potiphar,
an Egyptian official in Pharaoh’s palace. While in Potiphar’s house, he was falsely accused of assault by Potiphar’s wife and thrown in prison where he spent another two years. While in prison, he interpreted the dreams of two fellow prisoners and was eventually summoned to the throne of Pharaoh. It was there that he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of a seven year famine, gave Pharaoh some very wise counsel and ended up being the second in command in Egypt.
The seven year famine also affected Joseph’s father and brothers and forced them to come to Egypt to buy food. When they stood in front of the brother they had sold into slavery, they did not recognize him. Joseph was one of the most powerful men in the world and held the keys to the world’s food supply. He very easily could have taken revenge, denied them sustenance, and sent them back home. But Joseph took the “high road” and chose to forgive his brothers, take them in and embrace them.
Another person that could have taken offense was David. The prophet Samuel was sent to Jesse’s house to anoint one of his sons to be the next king of Israel. David’s father paraded his seven favored sons before Samuel and ignored David, who was the youngest and was taking care of his father’s sheep. He felt there was no need to call David. David could have taken issue with his father but he refused to be bitter or angry. Just like Joseph, David took the “high road” and chose to walk in love.
Love never fails. When you love this way and choose to live your live this way, God will promote you and use you for His glory.