January 22: “How to Recover from Being Mistreated”

7 Minute Read


Genesis 44:1–45:28
Matthew 14:13-36
Psalm 18:37-50
Proverbs 4:11-13


Genesis 45:5 (CSB) “And now don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.”

Genesis 45:8 (CSB) “Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”


I bet you can think of at least one time when you were wronged by someone. Maybe it was something they said. Or maybe they actually did something that was unjust, unfair, and incredibly hurtful to you.

How have you dealt with the memory? Have you grown bitter? Have you worked hard to simply forget it? Or have you been able to see it in a way that is positive and doesn’t leave you bitter?

When we read Genesis 45, we come to the climax of the story that began in Genesis 37. Joseph had been his father’s spoiled child and his brothers had hated him for it. They callously talked about killing him but settled for selling their own flesh and blood into slavery.

Because of that event, Joseph had been transported to Egypt as an object and not a person. Once there, he was probably presented as someone to be purchased and Potiphar ended up buying him. He was no longer a person with his own freedom – he was property that was required to obey his master.

As a result of being brought into Potiphar’s house, he was eventually accused wrongfully of attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison with no hope of ever breathing the air of freedom again. Years later, he was brought before Pharaoh and, beyond all odds, made second-in-command of Egypt.

It is in this position of authority that Joseph met his brothers and eventually revealed his hidden identity to them.

Was Joseph bitter? Was he angry? Was he going to use his incredible power to take out vengeance upon his guilty but helpless brothers?

No. Instead of being angry, bitter, and ready to take out vengeance, he was kind and compassionate.

How was he able to come to such an emotionally healthy place in his life when he had been so horribly wronged? Just listen to his words again and listen to how he was able to overlook the injustice done to him.

Genesis 45:5 (CSB) “And now don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.”

Genesis 45:8 (CSB) “Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”

Joseph saw God’s hand in it. He acknowledged the injustice that his brothers had committed but he also recognized that God overruled their actions to bring about good.

Now, we may be tempted to say: “Of course Joseph was fine with it! He ended up being second-in-command of the major world power.”

But saying such things misses the point. We should see that no matter what others do to us, we should look for God’s hand in it. We should see how He is using even the unjust words and actions for our good.

Romans 8:28 (CSB) “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

This verse tells us that no matter what happens to us, God is going to work it for our good. He wants to teach us and mold us by the mistreatment.

Maybe a co-worker slandered you behind the scenes and caused you to lose the opportunity for a promotion. You could choose to get angry or even bitter. You might even have thoughts of revenge. Or you could look for what God is teaching you through it – maybe He wants you to be content with what you have.

So, like Joseph, we are going to be wronged. But, like Joseph, we need to learn to get to an emotionally healthy place by seeing God’s hand in it. We need to be convinced that God is, through the injustice, providing us with an opportunity to grow more into the image of Jesus.

But, unlike Joseph, we may not have warm relationships with those who did us wrong. He was able to reconcile with his brothers and he enjoyed their company. But, it is possible that you will be able to get to an emotionally healthy place after an injustice while recognizing that the person is no longer worthy of your trust.

We are called to love people (be willing to sacrifice for them in a time of need) but we don’t necessarily have to like all people. Those who have hurt us may need to be put into a category of people that we simply no longer trust as we look forward to the Lord making things right one day. This point is clear in the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy…

2 Timothy 4:14-15 (CSB) “Alexander the coppersmith did great harm to me. The Lord will repay him according to his works. Watch out for him yourself because he strongly opposed our words.”

So, based upon what we have read, how can we recover after being mistreated? What must we think within the privacy of our mind and heart to get to a good place like Joseph?

  • Acknowledge the injustice. Don’t gloss over it. Call it like it is.
  • Acknowledge the people who did it. Again, don’t gloss over it.
  • Recognize that you are called to forgive others – and that God’s command for you to forgive is actually for your good. If you forgive, you won’t settle into anger and then bitterness.
  • See God’s hand in it all. Look for the lesson(s) that He is teaching you as a result of the mistreatment.

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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