A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Joseph tested his brothers by falsely accusing them

In order to probe whether his older brothers had repented, Joseph falsely accused his brothers, raised a false report and uttered a lie. Yes — that’s the same saintly Joseph, eleventh son of Jacob, whose humility in suffering is held up as a model for how we ought to respond when we are mistreated.

The famine in the Middle East was widespread and people from other countries were coming to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph had doubtless been expecting his family to come on a food-buying mission sooner or later. He must have often wondered about them. Ever since his elevation to governorship, he would have been planning what he would do if he encountered them.

Joseph knew that reconciliation with his brothers would be disappointing unless they had really reformed. For reconciliation to be more than superficial, the brothers needed to have admitted their evil deeds, told the truth, humbled themselves and learnt to put their own egos second.

Joseph knew that character change of such dimensions could not be verified unless it was put to the test — not just the lukewarm test of verbally professed reformation, but a stringent test of conduct under pressure. If the brothers’ comforts, privileges, reputations or liberties were threatened, would they again be abusive? They had been corrupt in the past — would they behave selflessly now? Had they or would they allow God to convict them of their sinfulness and change their hearts and minds?

Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. (Genesis 42:6-7a CSB)

Joseph had been seventeen when they had sold him into slavery; he was now about thirty-eight. In all likelihood they wouldn’t recognise him, but to make sure he spoke to them roughly and through an interpreter. He didn’t reveal his identity: he wanted to ascertain the state of their hearts first.

The first false accusation

“Where do you come from?” he asked.

“From the land of Canaan to buy food,” they replied.

Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Joseph remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies. You have come to see the weakness of the land.” (7b-9)

Joseph intentionally spoke what was not true. He knew that accusation that the brothers were spies was a false charge. He deliberately misconstrued his brothers’ intentions. “The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment [include] …speaking what is not true, laying a false charge, misconstructing intentions, words, and actions.”  (Westminster Larger Catechism Qn 145)

You shall not spread a false report.  (Ex. 23:1a)
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD  (Prov. 12:22a)
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Ex. 20:16)

The Bible doesn’t depict Joseph’s conduct here as sinful. On the contrary, the story shows that Joseph responded to his brothers with integrity, wisdom, shrewdness, temperance and benevolence.

The false charge was a clever ploy on Joseph’s part. In that political situation, the charge was not unreasonable; foreign kings might have been sending spies to reconnoiter Egypt before they invaded the country to plunder its grain stores. The false charge was a pretext for Joseph to waylay the brothers, subject them to examination and flush out the state of their hearts without their being aware of his real motives.

It was an ingenious charge because it had parallels with the way the brothers had reviled Joseph years before. “He spied on us and sent back a bad report to our father,” had been one of their bitter accusations. The parallel meant it was an ideal goad with which to prick their guilty consciences.

Unlike victims of domestic abuse in relation to their abusers, Joseph had every advantage in this encounter with his brothers. They couldn’t recognise him. He’d had ample time to prepare a game-plan. And he was able to call the shots in the meeting. He used these advantages to trigger their memory of their buried sin.

Then Joseph said to them, “I have spoken: ‘You are spies!’ This is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.  Send one from among you to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days. (14-17 )

To see how his brothers would react under pressure, Joseph put them in a position of having to choose which brother they would send to bring Benjamin while the rest of them remained in custody. Would they fight each other for the privilege of being released from jail? In the past they had ignored his pleas and sold him into slavery. Now they had lost their liberty. No doubt Joseph reasoned that holding their feet to the fire might do them some good. They would have had no idea that he was intending to release them after three days. Perhaps they might start pondering how divine justice had turned full circle — as you sow, so shall ye reap.

After three days, Joseph announced that only one brother need remain in prison. The other nine could go back, with grain, on the condition that they returned with their young brother. This proves that Joseph hadn’t been vindictive in imprisoning his brothers. If revenge had been his motive, he would have kept them in jail far longer. Rather, he had been using tough love, causing them pain in order to flush out their guilt and provoke them to reformation.

Then they said to each other, “Obviously, we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us.”

But Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn’t listen. Now we must account for his blood!”

They did not realize that Joseph understood them, since there was an interpreter between them. He turned away from them and wept. When he turned back and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and had him bound before their eyes. (21-24)

In this passage, the brothers admitted their sin. Their suffering in prison had begun a good work in their hearts. Unbeknownst to them, Joseph not only heard them confess their sin to each other, he was also apprised of how, on that fateful day so long ago, Reuben the eldest brother had managed to restrain the worst of their evildoing.

But Joseph did not declare his identity merely on the strength of their confession to each other. If his only purpose had been retribution, he could have announced his identity at this point, pounced on their confession, made them grovel, and then haughtily ‘reconciled’ with them. Instead, he wept in secret: tears of joy and relief at the prospect of a future reconciliation of equals (for which he could now hold out hope, given their confession to each other). Love rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6). He must have prayed for years that a moment like this would come. And he knew that the unity of his family was probably of especial importance, given God’s covenantal promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He did not waver for a moment in his program of continuing to test his brothers. He knew that the correct moment for reconciliation had not yet arrived.

Joseph’s next step was to set the brothers up for further embarrassment, anxiety and fear — emotions which are likely to stimulate a guilty conscience to examine itself further. He got his steward to place the money they’d paid for the grain back into their sacks. His benevolence for his family meant he wanted to give them the grain, rather than take payment for it. But he also intended that the unexpected return of their money would cause them consternation.

A wicked person often interprets the acts of others with suspicion and wariness, because he reasons that other people also operate underhandedly from evil motives. When the brothers got back to Canaan and discovered money in each of their sacks, they reasoned that the money in their sacks meant they had been set up for being charged with theft or fraud. They were afraid. Joseph had instructed them to return to Egypt with their youngest brother. Simeon would not be released from the Egyptian jail unless they came back with Benjamin! But now, if they returned to Egypt, they would most likely be thrown into prison for theft or fraud — and they were not guilty of those crimes! Such a fear was perfectly tailored to quicken their guilt about Joseph whom they had punished although he had committed no crime. Joseph had nicely pinched them in a dilemma. And he called all the shots!

pincers

Their father Jacob was made fearful too. Reuben offered to give his own two sons to be slain if he did not bring back Benjamin from a second trip. Jacob wisely refused this rather silly offer. If Benjamin suffered mischief on the trip to Egypt, how would Jacob’s grief have been assuaged by loosing his two grandsons as well as Benjamin? Thus, a stalemate ensued which was only broken when the famine pressed so sorely upon Jacob’s family that the vexed question of taking Benjamin down to Egypt became impossible to ignore.

Eventually, Judah persuaded Jacob to let Benjamin go back with them, by offering himself as surety for Benjamin. Carrying gifts to the Governor, the money that had mysteriously been returned in their sacks, and double money for new grain (they reasoned that probably the price had increased), the nine brothers and Benjamin took off for Egypt.

***

Posts in this Joseph series

Part 1:  Is this post.

Part 2:  The second test Joseph gave his brothers

Part 3:  Reconciled with his brothers

Part 4: Joseph’s brothers were afraid of Joseph even though he had forgiven them

Part 5: Joseph’s treatment of his brothers — reflections and applications

Related series: Is it always sinful to tell an untruth?

24 Comments

  1. Gany T.

    Wow! Or as it hit me upon reading it, (jaw drop). This is an amazing teaching. It has me examining my heart, searching past memories, and now seeing in a different light a few key situations and relationships. Thank you for this post, and I look forward to Part 2.

  2. Auriel

    Thank you for this Barbara. I love that you said “For reconciliation to be more than superficial, the brothers needed to have admitted their evil deeds, told the truth, humbled themselves and learnt to put their own egos second.”

    I often feel a pressure to reconcile with my sister, who has betrayed me with my abusive husband, and in other ways. I can see that reconciliation will probably never be more than superficial with her. There is a bit of relief in that I don’t need to feel guilty for keeping my boundaries strong with her and minimising contact.

    I’m very grateful for your teaching. I’m glad God let me find you 💖

    [Paragraph breaks added for readability. Editors.]

  3. Finding Answers

    From the original post “A wicked person often interprets the acts of others with suspicion and wariness, because he reasons that other people also operate underhandedly from evil motives….”

    That could also be applied to victims and survivors.

    How people view another individual depends on how well they (the people) know the individual.

    An example from my recent past….

    A few weeks ago, I slid and fell hard, landing facedown on the sidewalk, and splitting open the skin beneath my brow. I was completely stunned and in a great deal of pain. Fortunately for me, an older couple was walking past me. The couple suggested I sit where I was until I recovered enough to stand on my own two feet. They helped me to my feet and walked me most of the rest of the way to my home.

    When I reached home, I noticed I was injured.

    I had not noticed the extent of my injury until I went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and noticed the bleeding and an immense swelling growing over my eye.

    I was terrified.

    I had nowhere to turn.

    So, gritting my teeth and leaning against the bathroom counter, I gently cleaned the wound, applied a topical ointment, and carefully placed a bandage over the wound.

    I spent that night sleeping propped slightly upright, afraid the wound would swell and obscure the vision in the injured eye.

    I spent the next few weeks sleeping propped upright, as not only had my eye swelled so much that I looked like I had a Neanderthal-man eye socket, but the bruising had spread to the top of my cheekbone.

    One arm had been rendered so painful I did not dare move in my sleep.

    Shortly after I had injured my eye, it became necessary for me to venture outside my home.

    I was afraid other people would think I was a victim of domestic abuse. (I had been a victim of domestic abuse in the past, but my ex-“husband” had never been physically abusive to me. Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    I wanted someone (anyone) to ask me what had happened so I could admit to my own inattention while I had been out walking.

    No one has ever asked me the cause of my mostly-healed black eye, and I have watched people turn their faces away from me.

    People see only what they want to see, and sometimes give the impression they are making a false assumption.

    From the original post “….a stringent test of conduct under pressure….”

    That.

    From the original post “….react under pressure….”

    That.

    The older couple that stopped and helped me were the equivalent of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. My only regret is that I did not thank them in a more coherent manner.

    Perhaps this could be considered my prayer to God that He (God) find a way to thank this lovely couple for me.

    I have strayed from the topic of the original post, but I had nowhere else to tell my story, and there IS a Biblical link.

    My story is an example of how I have spent my life learning the Bible.

    • Dear Finding Answers, I’m so sorry for your accident! I don’t know how I would cope with trying to sleep propped upright for weeks — I think it would send me round the bend.

      The way people turned their head away from you with your black eye…. ugh! The pain of being ignored, the pain when people choose to walk by on the other side of the road! The pain when people appear to make assumptions and disdainful judgements! Thank you for telling that story. I am guessing that quite a few readers here will relate to it.

      To me it is significant that the couple who stopped to help you were older people. I have noticed that the older generation tends to have better manners and more of a social conscience than younger people do.

      I know I’ve written about this before in some comment or other, but when I see a person (especially a woman) with a black eye or other injury, I often ask the person if I may ask them a personal question. I reassure them that they are free to not answer. If they say I can ask them the question, I ask them, “What happened to your eye? Is somebody hurting you?”

  4. Finding Answers

    In my comment (12TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 12:00 PM), I commented: “….My only regret is that I did not thank them in a more coherent manner…..”

    That.

    In the same comment, I commented: “Perhaps this could be considered my prayer to God that He (God) find a way to thank….”

    That.

    ….all the other Good Samaritans in my life.

  5. Sojourn

    Such a excellent explanation of this most beloved story, there is always hidden gems to discover.. and then there is the comparison story of Joseph and Jesus.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Sojourn,

      For your safety and protection, I changed the screen name you submitted with your comment to the screen name you used in the past when submitting comments to the blog.

  6. Sister

    Excellent post Barbara! I look forward to the other installments.

  7. Ali Rowan

    This is really excellent, Barb!!

    Point by point – such excellent observations and understanding of the psychology and the absolute NEED for the test, done in complete pre-forgiveness without any vindictive desire to keep them in his debt, but rather to reconcile for an equal and united relationship to ensue.

    Only one thing might have been said differently. You quoted the verses against lying …

    You shall not spread a false report. (Ex. 23:1a)
    Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD (Prov. 12:22a)
    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Ex. 20:16)

    But do they actually apply here? (Don’t forget those weren’t written at the time either). But even so, the moral principle is ageless … Against SLANDER of a victim to others. But here, this was private interrogation not a public false defamation of his brothers to harm their reputation. This is the target of those verses, not what Joseph did. Fair point?

    Very much looking forward to the next installment! 😁

    • Hi Ali,
      In my view, while Ex 23:1a and 20:6 might be construed as chiefly or solely prohibiting slander of a victim to others, Proverbs 12:22a seems to prohibit lying per se.

      I quoted those three verses to provoke readers to think about whether those verses apply to Joseph. Did Joseph do wrong? Was his lie (his false accusation against his brothers) a sin?

      Pharisaic people often say that ALL lying is sinful. If pushed, a Pharisaic type of person might say that Joseph did wrong; but I’ve never heard such a claim made about Joseph. In my observation, they steer clear of this narrative when they are expounding the commandment You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Do they instinctively know that this story of Joseph does not support their claim that lying is always sinful?

      (I’m not implying you are Pharisaic!)

      This issue reminds me of something William Tyndale said is his prologue to Romans:

      The law and what it requires
      This word law may not be understood here the usual way (or to use Paul’s term, after the manner of men, or after man’s ways), so that you would say that the law here is nothing but regulation that sets out what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. This is how it is with man’s law, which is fulfilled with outward works only, even if the heart be ever so far off. But God judges the ground of the heart, yea and the thoughts and the secret movings of the mind. And therefore his law requires the ground of the heart, and love from the bottom of the heart. It is not satisfied by the external work only, but rebukes most of all those works which do not spring of love from the ground and low bottom of the heart, even if they appear outwardly ever so honourable and good, as Christ in the gospel rebukes the Pharisees above all others who were open sinners. He calls them hypocrites, which is to say dissemblers, and white-washed tombs. Which Pharisees lived among men most purely insofar as the outward deeds and works of the law were concerned.

      … To fulfil the law is to do the work of the law, and whatever it commands, with love, desire, inward affection, and real pleasure. And it is to live godly and well freely, willingly, and without the compulsion of the law, even as if there were no law at all. Such willingness and free liberty to love the law come only by the working of the Spirit in the heart.

      Sin
      Sin in the scripture is not only the outward work or deed that the body does. It includes everything that is involved, including whatever accompanies, moves, or stirs to the out-ward deed, and that from which the works spring, such as unbelief, and proneness and readiness to do the deed in the ground of the heart, with all the powers, affections, and appetites with which we can but sin. When a person sins, he is carried away headlong into it, thus showing all that he is, due to the poison inclination and corrupt nature in which we are conceived and born. For there is no outward sin committed unless a person be carried away altogether, with nature, soul, heart, body, will, and mind, to do it. The scripture looks singularly to the heart, and to the root and original source of all sin, which is unbelief in the bottom of the heart. For as faith alone justifies us and brings the Spirit and predisposition to perform the outward good works, even so unbelief alone damns us, exalts the flesh, and stirs up the will to do evil outward works, as happened to Adam and Eve in Paradise (Genesis 3)

      When Joseph falsely accused his brothers, he was not carried headlong into the sin of bearing false witness. The story shows that the ground and bottom of his heart was love for his brothers.

      I am hoping to publish the next installment in the next 24-48 hours.

  8. Gany T.

    Tyndale’s words on Sin (in his prologue to Romans) are helpful to me.

  9. Finding Answers

    Barb quoted (19TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 8:57 PM): “The scripture looks singularly to the heart, and to the root and original source of all sin, which is unbelief in the bottom of the heart. For as faith alone justifies us and brings the Spirit and predisposition to perform the outward good works, even so unbelief alone damns us, exalts the flesh, and stirs up the will to do evil outward works”

    That.

    Gany T. commented (22ND FEBRUARY 2021 – 1:29 PM): “Tyndale’s words on Sin (in his prologue to Romans) are helpful to me.”

    That.

    Ali Rowan commented (20TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 3:23 PM): “MOTIVATION for the action….upright from a good heart of love – not one of petty vengeance.”

    That.

    Auriel commented (11TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 9:00 AM): “I often feel a pressure to reconcile”

    That.

    Gany T. commented (11TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 7:59 AM): ” examining my heart, searching past memories, and now seeing in a different light a few key situations and relationships.”

    That.

    I commented (12TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 12:00 PM): “I have strayed from the topic of the original post”

    That.

    Sin comes down to intent.

    In examining my heart and searching past memories, I now see a few key situations and relationships in a different light. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    Ali Rowan commented (19TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 4:53 AM): “the absolute NEED for the test”

    That.

    From the comment by Ali Rowan (19TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 4:53 AM): “done in complete pre-forgiveness without any vindictive desire to keep them in his debt”

    That.

    From the comment by Ali Rowan (19TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 4:53 AM): “to reconcile for an equal and united relationship to ensue.”

    That.

    Barb quoted (19TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 8:57 PM): “Sin in the scripture is not only the outward work or deed that the body does. It includes everything that is involved, including whatever accompanies, moves, or stirs to the out-ward deed”

    That.

    From the original post: “character change of such dimensions could not be verified unless it was put to the test — not just the lukewarm test of verbally professed reformation, but a stringent test of conduct under pressure.”

    That.

    Quoted in the original post: “there was an interpreter between them. He turned away from them and wept. When he turned back and spoke to them”

    Jesus Christ is my Interpreter.

    Until now, I did not understand the intent behind a few key situations and relationships in my life. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    I did not have all the information I needed to see those few key situations and relationships correctly. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    I need to accept that the Triune God forgives me even if I have difficulty forgiving myself. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    I do not know how to forgive myself, even though I have taught the concept of forgiveness to both Christian and non-Christian individuals. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay my debts, and to free me from the bondage of sins that had already been forgiven by Him. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    I have had some saviours in my life. (Please note the lower case “s” starting the word “saviours”.) (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    I have had only one Saviour in my life. (Please note the upper case “S” starting the word “Saviour”.) (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    Because of the other saviours in my life, I was unable to experience the Saviour in my life. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

    I wonder how many other people do not experience the love of Jesus Christ in their lives because they have received false teachings about sin.

    I wonder how many other people cannot forgive themselves because they, like me, cannot believe their debts were paid and their sins were forgiven when Jesus Christ died on the cross.

    Barb quoted (19TH FEBRUARY 2021 – 8:57 PM): “it is to live godly and well freely, willingly, and without the compulsion of the law, even as if there were no law at all. Such willingness and free liberty to love the law come only by the working of the Spirit in the heart.”

    That.

    • I’m glad you’ve been able to patchwork all these things together in a way that helps you gain insight, Finding Answers. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Finding Answers

      Adding on to my comment….

      I wrote: “I do not know how to forgive myself, even though I have taught the concept of forgiveness to both Christian and non-Christian individuals. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)”

      That.

      Forgiveness takes time.

      I pray to God that He gives me the ability to forgive myself.

      If I wait until I feel forgiven, I might be waiting for a very long time.

      The guilt I feel is not something for which I should feel guilty.

      Let this be my prayer: I ask for forgiveness from someone who is not in the position to forgive me.

      Only God can forgive me.

      I pray to God that He gives me an answer to my prayers.

      Maybe then the pain in my life will end….

      • Dear Finding Answers, from all you’ve shared at this blog, I very much believe that the guilt you feel is not something for which you should feel guilty.

        I am a bit confused by these two things you said:

        I ask for forgiveness from someone who is not in the position to forgive me.

        Only God can forgive me.

        I am confused because those two statements seem to be contradictory. Do you mean that you are asking yourself for forgiveness, and you believe are not in position to forgive yourself?

      • Finding Answers

        Hi Barb,

        Hindsight has given me a different (and more truthful) perspective on some situations in my life. This different perspective has led me to understand how I might have unintentionally harmed some other individuals in the past. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

        When I wrote “Only God can forgive me.”, I meant that I am unable to contact some individuals from my past that I might have unintentionally harmed to ask them for their forgiveness. And while there are ways of asking for forgiveness even when I am unable to contact individuals that I might have unintentionally harmed, I have no way of knowing if they would forgive me. Not knowing if these individuals would forgive me leaves me unable to forgive myself.

        I understand how forgiveness works (the “head” stuff), but I cannot seem to let go of my guilt. Because of this, I do not know how forgiveness feels (the “heart” stuff).

      • Finding Answers, thanks for explaining; I now understand better.

      • Hi Finding Answers, I was reading William Tyndale’s Prologue to Romans today — the section about Romans chapter 6. I thought your might find it helpful in relation to the forgiveness issue you are facing. As I recall, you have the NT of the New Matthew Bible, so you can read the prologue there. Therefore, I won’t paste it here.

      • Finding Answers

        Hi Barb,

        I have been arguing with the Holy Spirit about the concept of forgiveness.

        In the process of discussing the concept of forgiveness with the Holy Spirit, I have discovered I already understood the concept of forgiveness from both the perspective of the “head” stuff and the perspective of the “heart” stuff.

        For a first example: Addictions.

        Some individuals with some type of addiction might be less likely to be able to stop the addictive behaviour immediately.

        Some individuals with some type of addiction have been able to stop the addictive behaviour immediately.

        In the first example, the key difference is the “heart” stuff.

        We cannot know the heart of an addict.

        For a second example: Bullying.

        There are many reasons why an individual might be a bully.

        An individual might bully other people because they can get away with bullying in the world.

        A bully who is trying to survive might be able to get away with bullying in the world.

        A bully who is trying to survive might not be able to get away with bullying in the world.

        The bully who gets away with bullying in the world cannot get away with bullying with the Holy Spirit

        The bully who is trying to survive and who might get away with bullying in the world, might or might not get away with bullying with the Holy Spirit.

        The bully who is trying to survive and who might not get away with bullying in the world, might or might not get away with bullying with the Holy Spirit.

        In the second example, the key difference is the “heart” stuff.

        We cannot know the heart of the bully.

        For a third example: Abusers.

        Substitute the word “abuser” for the word “bully” in the second example.

        In the third example, the key difference is the “heart” stuff.

        We cannot know the heart of an abuser.

        The Holy Spirit is the only One Who can know the heart of an addict, a bully, or an abuser.

        The Holy Spirit is the only One Who can know our heart.

        The Holy Spirit is the only One Who can know if the addict, the bully, or the abuser has repented.

        The Holy Spirit is the only one Who can know if we have repented.

        Jesus Christ is the only One with the Power to forgive sins.

        God the Father, through God the Son (Jesus Christ), forgives us if we have repented.

        I continue feeling as if the the cycles of abuse will never stop, condemning myself because I cannot let go of the consequences that all the abusers in my life have done to me.

        Hebrews 4:16 (NMB)

        Let us therefore go boldly to the seat of grace, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

        I need help….

      • Hi Finding Answers, it sounds like you have come to more clarity about yourself and forgiveness.

        I encourage you to reject and renounce and refuse to entertain the thoughts of self-condemnation for not letting go of the consequences of all that the abusers in your live have done to you.

        I would like to put an idea to you: The phrase “not letting go of the consequences of the abuse” presupposes a falsehood. The falsehood is that you are actively and intentionally (and sinfully) holding on to those consequences. I doubt that you are ‘holding on’ to those consequences. The consequences are real and present in your neuro-biology, your mental and physical wiring so to speak — and they cause many limitations and much suffering in your life and your lifestyle. I think you would like it if those consequences were gone, if they evaporated, if they did not exist. But they do exist. Through no fault of your own. All the fault belongs to your abusers.

        You are a survivor of extreme abuse. Would you tell another survivor of extreme abuse they must stop holding onto the consequences of the abuse? Would you tell them they are in sin for ‘holding onto the consequences of the abuse’?

  10. Ben P

    I think you’ve chosen a very interesting passage and topic here, Barb. I’ve glanced at a couple of posts in this series but am going to read systematically through them. Am interested to see how Joseph deals with those who have wronged him, and what real repentance looks like in this case. I suspect it’s often a very long journey, when it happens at all.

    • Thank you Ben P. 🙂

      Just fyi, I am going to amend the last part of my Joseph series. I’ll let my readers know when I have updated it.

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