What To Do If You Are In a Pit

Monday, December 7, 2015

We all live in pits from time to time. Sometimes our pits are of our own design. Other times those around us dig them for us through their words and actions. Once in a pit the trick is to figure out how to get out of it so that we don't have to live permanently in misery. How do we get out of the misery that surrounds us? How do we overcome those situations in life that threaten to suck us into a sea of sorrow?

Joseph is my favorite story in all of God's Word. He was the "first pit dweller" and an excellent example on how to remove yourself from the pit your life is currently in. Thrown into a hole by the brothers that should have loved him...falsely accused by his boss' wife...forgotten by those he helped...Joseph was consistently faced with the challenge of how to deal with life when it isn't fair. It's a simple formula, really, but one that is hard to execute...

No shame. No blame. Give credit to His name.

No Shame. One of the ways to get out of the pit is to deal with our sin and mistakes when they occur. Going to God (and to the people we have sinned against if that is part of the situation) and confessing our sin and accepting His forgiveness will help us more forward. While God's Word doesn't talk about Joseph specifically doing this, there is evidence in his actions that he did. For example, Joseph telling his brothers that they would bow down to him either lacked wisdom (at best) or was an outright sin of pride (at worst). It was part of the motivation to throw him in the pit and sell him off. Did he deserve it? NO. I believe though Joseph dealt with this sin/mistake and then moved forward to do what God had called Him to do. He didn't wallow in the shame of what he did.

No Blame. Joseph is one of the best examples in the Bible of forgiveness. While he is honest about what they did (See Genesis 45:4-5) he gives them grace by acknowledging that God was the One who sent him ahead of his brothers. Blaming would have done no good. What was done was done. No one could take it back and change their actions. The only option was to move forward. It is the same with us if we want out of our pits. We can't blame others, because it maintains our victim status. We must forgive. (PLEASE NOTE: While forgiveness is always necessary reconciliation doesn't always occur. Please read this post on the difference between the two.)

Give Credit to His Name. Joseph was a master at this! He was consistently giving God credit. When he interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and baker he gave credit to God by saying, "Do not interpretations belong to God?" He did it again when he explained Pharaoh's dreams. And amazingly, he gave credit to God with these famous words,

"Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." --Genesis 50:19-20

By acknowledging that God is really the One in control, we pull ourselves out of the pit of despair and accept what He has for our lives. We don't live in shame of what we have done. We don't blame those around us, and we give God the glory due Him. And then...

we walk out of the pit.

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