Wednesday, October 23, 2013


When I lost a job, a godly friend reminded me to say nothing negative about my previous employer. I knew it would only be seen as “sour grapes,” so I listened to her words of wisdom and said only good things—in public. In private, I vented to my family members—people I trusted to keep a confidence.

Sharing the offense seemed an appropriate way to lighten my load and help me process the job loss. But then I stumbled upon Joseph’s example of forgiveness and came to question whether he ever shared his loss. If you remember, Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and did not see his family again for 20 years (Gen 37-50).

Photo Courtesy of dan
The Bible gives no hint that Joseph shared their betrayal with anyone, not even his father. When he sent his brothers to get his father, he told them what to say and specifically did not mention their role in his changed circumstances (Gen 45:9-12).

After Jacob’s death, the brothers did send a message saying their father wanted Joseph to forgive them. But in Genesis we have a lot of detail about Jacob’s preparations for his impending death. He had plenty of time to ask Joseph to forgive his brothers. He did not ask because he did not know they needed it. Joseph never told him.

Imagine how easy it would be to justify telling your father: Dad, I heard them plotting to kill me. Instead they sold me into slavery and told you I was dead.

You can imagine Jacob’s wrath if he had known the truth. You can also imagine his broken heart—knowing his sons could do such a thing to their own brother.

So Joseph chose to save Jacob from the pain of being offended on his behalf.

We can take from Joseph’s example that we are to refrain from telling everyone in our world about those who offend us. When I find myself needing to share hurtful events multiple times, it may signal my wound has more layers that need uncovered and forgiven. Or, I may simply need to recommit myself to the choice to forgive. Either way, I need to act quickly before I fall back into judgment and unforgiveness.

Some burdens are so painful it takes the support of a pastor or a professional counselor to bring healing: A parent’s abandonment, the death of a child, broken wedding vows, to name a few.

It would appear Joseph relied on God to be his only counselor. I pray I will be able to follow his example in the future. If I take my burdens to God first, hopefully I can at least limit the number of times I need to share my burden. Being the Wonderful Counselor, he is sure to bring peace.

~~ I would love to hear how you “lighten your load.” Do you have someone you can trust to share your burdens? I hope you will share in the comments below.


  1. Beautiful story Teresa, and great lesson. It is so true that what we do privately resonates louder than what we do in public. I had one boss I loathed and was my reason for leaving that job. In public, I said I just desired to stay home, but to family and close friends, I crucified him, feeling justified in doing so. I've had the same experience with individuals. It is never really "over" until we finally release them to God. Thank you for a great post.

  2. Your words "crucified him" ring so true. Been there, Done that!
    Thank you so much for sharing - and sorry it took so long for me to find your comment!


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