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Moving past memories

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Read: Genesis 45:1-15

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good (Genesis 50:20).

 

When artist Gary Sweeney decided to sell the home his family had owned for 70  years, he created a unique way of saying goodbye. Sweeney selected and enlarged 100 family photos, placing them on pieces of plywood. He attached the plywood to the home’s exterior — covering the entire structure in memories.

Experiences with our parents and siblings stay with us for life. Good or bad, memories pry into our lives with invisible fingers, influencing our self-image, decisions, and emotions.

When Joseph was 17 years old, his brothers sold him as a slave to a group of traders headed to Egypt. Many years later when he encountered his brothers again, Joseph “broke down and wept” (Genesis 45:2). Despite the emotions, Joseph didn’t allow hurtful memories to affect his relationship with his brothers. He acknowledged the past, but didn’t make them feel guilty for what they’d done. He said, “Don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me… It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives” (Genesis 45:5). God had given Joseph great success in Egypt and as a result he was able to save his brothers and their families during a severe famine.

Joseph could have allowed himself to become bitter and hateful. He could have taken revenge by denying help to his family. Although nothing could change how his brothers had hurt him, Joseph’s decision to treat them with kindness released him from the misery of the past.

We may not be able to change our past, but we don’t have to let it determine our future. God is able to redeem the bad intentions of other people (Genesis 50:20). By His grace, we can choose to bless people who’ve hurt us — finding healing through forgiveness.

 

Our Daily Journey ©2018 ODB Ministries, 3000, Kraft Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49555-0001, USA. Used by permission. For this and other materials contact ODB Ministries at 322 P. Guevarra, San Juan City (Phils.); Tel.: 722-2010.

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