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Will you become Bitter or Better? Show Notes

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Show Notes from A Wonderful Life - AWL Show Notes

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Every single one of us can get snared in the trap of bitterness. It can begin as simply as a seed of anger from a disappointment in life that was never settled. Dump a little dirt on that seed from other painful experiences such as a bad health report, a job loss, shattered dreams, or broken friendships and full grown resentment is born. Most of us have some kind of a root inside that needs to be cut off. If nothing else, just stop right now and tell God you want to get rid of it. He's on your side and is waiting to help.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Joseph. I've always thought he was one of the most incredible humans to have gone through so many years of adversity and yet still remained optimistically faithful to God. On this program, we will look at six clues from Joseph on how we can become Better, not Bitter!

Bitter: having or marked by resentfulness or disappointment; exhibiting or proceeding from strong animosity; resentful, cynical

Ephesians 4:31-32 "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Hebrews 12:15 "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."

Joseph's Story (Genesis chapters 37 – 50)

Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob.

Joseph's older brothers were jealous of him because he was his father's favorite.

When Joseph was 17 years old, on what seemed to be an average day, his father sent him out to check on his brothers who had gone off to graze their flocks.

On this day, his brothers decided to act on their feelings against Joseph and were going to kill him. But instead, they ended up selling him into slavery.

He was then taken to a foreign land.

He ended up a slave of a powerful Egyptian official named, Potiphar.

Potiphar's wife wanted became pretty fond of Joseph and wanted Joseph to go for "a roll in the hay" but Joseph wouldn't do it. He said that it would be a sin against God (Genesis 39:9)Potiphar's wife was so angry toward Joseph for turning her down that she lied about him and she told her husband that Joseph raped her.

Joseph was thrown in prison for a crime he didn't commit! He was not in prison waiting for a trial. He was thrown in prison to rot forever.

While in prison, Joseph helped the chief butler, a royal servant of Pharaoh the King of Egypt, understand a dream but when the butler was released from jail, he forgot Joseph.

Two years later, Pharaoh had a dream that no one could help with. Then the chief butler remembered Joseph. Finally, Joseph was given a chance to get out of the dungeon.

Once he successfully helped Pharaoh, the king was so impressed with him, that the king put Joseph in charge of everything in the land. Joseph was second in charge only to the king!

Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of the king.

(For the rest of the story read Genesis chapters 42 – 50! It is amazing!)

So, let's recap:

In 13 years (age 17 to 30), Joseph was

  1. Abruptly taken away from his home
  2. Sold into slavery
  3. Taken to a foreign land
  4. Accused of a crime he didn't commit
  5. Thrown into prison to rot without a trial  
  6. Forgotten by a royal servant for his good deed in prison

Six Clues on How to Become Better Instead of Bitter!

So what did Joseph do? You know, he was just a human like you and me! Here are six clues to learn from Joseph on how we can become Better, not Bitter!

  1. Joseph knew God was with him. All throughout these Scriptures there is a repetitive theme "the Lord was with Joseph" (Genesis 39:2, 21) The Lord is also with us in our darkest times. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  And Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
  2. Joseph never saw himself as a victim. He always saw himself as God's child.
  3. Joseph never blamed God. Joseph could have sat around time after time and said, "Injustice! Look how many times I have experienced injustice, Lord! Where have you been?" Satan wants us to blame God for the bad in our lives, when the loving God of the universe wants to ultimately save us from all evil for eternity.
  4. Joseph never quit and just sat around and complained about his problems. (Genesis 39: 2-4 and 39:21-22) Look at the way Joseph found favor in the eyes of the two masters. Had he been a quitter, complainer, a person carrying the victim mentality, these masters would not have even looked twice at him. Instead, Joseph was promoted to the highest position possible in both cases.
  5. Joseph knew that God was in control beyond what his eyes could see and beyond what his mind could comprehend. Look at what Joseph eventually told his brothers at the in Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
  6. Joseph kept his focus on God, not on his situation.

Apply it!

Any one of these events could cause a person to give up. Add to it being sold into slavery, being framed for a crime, imprisonment and a mental wrecking ball can wreak havoc if you let it.

Have you ever been betrayed by someone you love? Has a co-worker lied to you? Has someone stolen money from you? Did you get bypassed on your job? Were you surprised by a bad health report?

Your emotions may start out small. You are hurt, you are angry, you may be jealous of other's having it so good. It's like a root. The anger and resentment begins to swell and grow inside and before you know it you have a full grown case of bitterness. It churns in your mind and in your heart. Maybe you are angry with God, and you don't even know it, but you are taking it out on those around you.

I challenge you to take the things that Joseph did and apply them to your life right now.

Notes from A Wonderful Life with Sharon Hinton Smith show. © 2005 - 2018

You are invited to print and keep these notes for personal encouragement. www.sharonhintonsmith.com