19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Projection–it is the perception that others will behave or perceive the same way that you behave or perceive. Israel’s sons were clearly projecting their reactions on to their brother Joseph. When Israel died, the brothers all buried him back in Canaan. When they returned to Egypt–they were very concerned, OK, lets call it as it was–they were scared spitless that Joseph was now going to punish them for their actions of so many years ago. It was obvious, that if Joseph had done that to them–well they would retaliate. What they still failed to perceive–was that God had charge of the entire plan and used the brother’s jealousy and hatred to bring about their ultimate safety.
Without a living and active faith, it would be impossible to see beyond the “coincidental” nature of the events. Joseph saw it and praised God for using him to save lives. He never gave it a second thought. The brothers, conversely, could not consider anything else; and they feared for their lives each day–simply, because the faith to see beyond their individual choices and safety did not exist in their lives. That is the incredible dichotomy between the world culture and the culture of people who live in relationship with God.
In our lives, the gauge that should be primary is the one that measures ones thoughts of self vs. one’s thoughts of others and God. If one’s meter is stuck on self-preservation, self-adoration and simply self-absorption; then, like the brothers, that person will never know peace and courage. They will live in a world of fear and discontent–where things are never good enough or safe enough to really enjoy for an extended period of time. If we focus on God and others, however, God will meet our needs, protect us, and prepare us for the mission he has planned. On that mission, the trials will often leave one feeling alone and uncared for, but, in the end, those very trials will uniquely situate you to meet your challenges and save lives around you.
In that realm, One neither has the time or desire to hold grudges or to seek retribution. The person is too focused on the mission and the needs of others to worry about petty revenge. Check your gauge–which end of the meter do you fall.
God Bless You
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.