Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dealing with Betrayal - the Story of Joseph (part 8); THE PATIENCE IN BETRAYAL

The final truth we learn about the pit of betrayal from the account of Joseph is that the healing of the pain caused by betrayal often takes years to heal completely.  We already saw that often the pain resulting from being betrayed gets worse before it gets better and that pain does not go away overnight.  Neither does it go away in a week, or in a month, or in week, or even in a year.  The truth is that it usually takes many years.  

Look at Joseph.  From his birth to the age of seventeen he was the favored son of his beloved father, Jacob.  At age seventeen he was brutally betrayed by his brothers and forced into the land of Egypt where all the way until the age of thirty he found himself living as a slave and as a prisoner.  Imagine – thirteen long years of daily living the pain of betrayal.  

But at the age of thirty he is finally promoted to the palace in Egypt where he will live out his life as the second most powerful man in Egypt.  He will receive a wife; he will receive sons; and ultimately he will receive the opportunity to forgive his brothers and to be joyously reunited with his father.  It took many years, but the healing did come.  

It may not happen quickly but it does happen.  There does come a point where God removes the sting from the memory.  Be patient!  Healing does come!


Anonymous said...

Being patient is very hard to do...especially when you continue to feel the pain of betrayal every week and you feel like you are still living in the "pit". It makes the reality of what Joseph, Job, and JESUS went through even more amazing...Do you think that the fact that God healed Joseph's life and delivered him from "the pit" is a sign that we shouldn't actively remove ourselves from emotionally stressful situations? Does being patient mean "hang in there" despite the hurt, judgement, etc? For example, do you stay at your current church and wait for God to pull you out of the "pit" or do you actively leave...did Joseph know his plight would ever change or did he sit in that prison with no insight from God that there would be a rewarding end during his time on Earth? I just can't imagine the level of faith that these biblical characters is sooooo hard!
-PA Friend

Pastor Scott said...

Hi PA Friend! Thanks for commenting. Those are all good questions. I truly believe that God will make it clear (one way or another) as to when it is time for a pastor to leave a church. Until that time, we must continue to be faithful in ministry. But when that time comes, we must also be careful as to the manner in when we leave.

Tough and hurtful times come into every pastor’s ministry. It should always be our intent in ministry to be able to work through these difficulties and continue to serve the Lord in our place of service. But those times do come when it becomes obvious that a parting of the ways is best.

This is difficult in so many ways, and our inclination is to go out with “guns blazing” by being sure that our side of the story is communicated to all and understood by all. We often feel a need to counteract every accusation made against us so people know we are innocent.

But I would like to suggest that the best way to leave a ministry when difficulties cannot be resolved is to leave with grace. To me, this means that you leave quietly rather than sharing your side of the story with anyone and everyone who will listen. I have found that the benefits to a graceful exit include:

-We avoid giving the church we are leaving a bad name or a black eye. After all, that church will continue to be a light to their community and will continue to preach Jesus.

-We avoid putting people in the church we are leaving in a position where they have to choose between us and the leadership of the church. Choosing sides is rarely beneficial for anyone.

-We speed up the healing process in our own lives and allow us to work though the need we have to forgive instead of allowing bitterness to take root in our lives.

So if the time comes for you (and I hope it doesn’t) that the Lord makes it clear that the challenges you are facing in your ministry is to end in a parting of the ways, choose to leave graciously. Don’t go out with “guns blazing.” Keep those guns (your tongue and your words) holstered. I believe that God will bless you for it, and in the end, He will be the one to vindicate you. Go with the words of Isaiah, “In quietness and trust is my strength” (Isaiah 30:15).