Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Sept. 30, 2010

Revenge is Sweet?  

This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder

But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
—Genesis 50:19-21

If ever a real life drama begged to be on the big screen, it is the one of Joseph and his brothers. This riveting human account is filled with jealousy, pride, arrogance, a murder plot, lies, seduction, and the unexpected elements of reconciliation and forgiveness. Most would prefer a good dose of revenge, and in all truth, Joseph had some pretty valid reasons for seeking retribution. After all, the list of injustices against him included things like:

            He was thrown into a pit by jealous brothers

            He was sold into slavery by his brothers

            He served as a slave in Potiphar's house

            He was unjustly accused of raping Potiphar's wife

            He was imprisoned for many years

Revenge could easily have been high on his list of actions, especially with the level of power he eventually gained when he became second in command of all Egypt. The power to destroy those who caused him so much pain was at his fingertips. Joseph, however, chose forgiveness.

Imagine the scene, after Joseph's father Jacob had died and the brothers are at the mercy of Joseph. Scripture clearly tells us they were afraid that Joseph would back down from his promise to treat them well. They were clearly expecting some significant consequences. Instead they received grace.

While revenge may seem sweet for the moment, the truth is, revenge perpetuates the cycle of evil. Grace and forgiveness demolish it. Take a look at the hurts and pains in your own life. How will you respond?


Revenge is easy. Forgiveness is tough. Forgiveness is courageous. Which path will you choose?


Romans 12:19; James 1:2-3  

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