Joyce Meyer - Don't Waste Your Pain
A couple of quotes on bitterness, resentment, things like that. "The weak can never forgive because forgiveness is an attribute of the strong". It takes a lot of strength to be able to forgive somebody, let it go, and trust God to do what only God can do. I said last night after somebody hurts you, don't let them keep hurting you the rest of your life by continually hanging on to what they did to you and hating them. I love this, the author of this quote is unknown, "Forgive, not because your enemies deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace". Isn't that good?
Here's a little story. "One day two monks were walking through the countryside. They were on their way to another village to help bring in the crops. As they walked, they saw an old woman sitting at the edge of the river. She was upset because there was no bridge and she could not get across it on her own. The first monk kindly offered, 'we will carry you across if you'd like us to'. 'Thank you', she said, gratefully accepting their help. So, the two men joined hands, lifted her between them, and carried her across the river. When they got to the other side, they set her down and she went on her way. After they had walked about another mile or so, the second monk began to complain. 'Look at my clothes', he said, 'they're filthy from carrying that woman across the river and my back still hurts from lifting her. I can feel it getting stiffer by the minute'. The first monk just smiled and kind of nodded his head.
A few more miles up the road, the monk griped again, 'my back is hurting me so bad. It's all because we had to carry that silly woman across the river. I can't go any further because of the pain'. The first monk looked down at his partner, now lying on the ground moaning, and said, 'have you wondered why I'm not complaining?' he said, 'your back hurts you because you're still carrying the woman, but I set her down 5 miles ago".
Now, don't miss what that said. You're hurting, come on. There's people in here today that you're hurting and you've been hurting for a long, long time, some of you perhaps most of your life because of something that happened to you in your childhood, and it's because you have refused to lay it down. Today's the day to lay it down, amen? How many of you were here last night and you got something out of that? Okay, we're calling this burnt but not bitter. Everybody in life is gonna get hurt. I don't care who you are, what your background is, you have already been hurt. You probably will get hurt again, but the good news is is the great healer lives on the inside of us as believers in Jesus Christ.
You know, I'd been hurt a lot in my childhood, abused by my dad and a couple of uncles and my grandfather, and married the first guy that came along. When I was 18, I got married, and that was, like, the dumbest thing I could have ever done because he was in worst shape than I was. And, you know, a lot of times wounded people marry other wounded people, and then they just keep wounding each other, and I did it out of desperation. I thought nobody would ever want me so I just grabbed the first guy that came along. How many of you know that that's a tendency: when you're afraid of loneliness, you'll take something even if you know down deep in your heart it's not gonna be the right thing, amen? But then you find out once you got it, you got it.
And so we were married five years, but it was more like a joke than anything else because he constantly would run around with other women, didn't work, and just was a con man, and a petty thief, and wrote bad checks and, you know, I mean it was just a mess. And he'd leave me all the time. He'd abandon me in Albuquerque. He abandoned me in Oakland, California, and I'd have to borrow money and come home on a bus. Why is it that women that have been hurt will marry somebody like that and then just keep going back to them and keep going back to them? Come on, is anybody hearing me, and keep going back to them. You serve better than that, and so did I, but you gotta stand up for yourself, amen? We usually get what we put up with in life.
Well, I had one child at the end of that marriage. I had one miscarriage and then I had one son. We were married five years, and this boy was born right toward the end of our marriage, and I named him David. It wasn't my husband's name. I named him after my brother, actually, but then I met Dave when my son David was nine months old. And Dave and I had five dates, he asked me to marry him. I always say jokingly, but it's probably true, he had to ask me before he found out what he was getting, otherwise he would have never done it. And I had, I mean, a boatload of problems.
So, when I stand here and tell you that the word of God works and it will change you and it will heal you, I'm not telling you because I read it in a book. I've experienced God's healing power in my life, but I am gonna tell you that it will take more than you just praying to be healed. We pray and I think we have a misconception about prayer. We think when we pray then God fixes everything, but you know what I'm finding out more and more even in the last two or three years? When we pray, very often God shows us what we need to do. Now, I'm not saying that God doesn't move supernaturally. Anything we cannot do, he will do for us. If we're gonna do nothing and expect God to do everything, then that's not gonna happen.
And if you've been badly hurt by someone, you can get completely well and be whole, but I am not going to tell you some fabricated, made-up story. It will not be easy. It will take time. It will take you doing some things that you'd rather not do, things that you don't feel are fair like forgiving people and maybe even being required by God to bless those people. See, here's the thing, because somebody treated you wrong, that doesn't give you a license now to treat them wrong. I don't know what makes us think that. God never tells us to give other people what they gave us. He always says treat them the way you would like to be treated.
And sometimes you're gonna have to treat somebody else right a long time before they begin to treat you right, and there's a possibility they might not ever change. But here's the thing, the amount of years that we have here on this earth are so limited. I don't think that you realize in your 20s and 30s how fast you're gonna be 60 and 70 and 80, amen? You know, my life is... I've lived almost all of it, and so I'll tell ya what, I'm gonna double up and I'm gonna make the devil extra mad in these last years that I've got because... I mean, what God has done if my life is absolutely amazing and I can tell you, it is actually totally impossible if it was anything other than God, there's no way that what God has done in my life could have happened, and he can, and is, and wants to do the exact same thing in every one of your lives, but the first thing you've gotta give up is all bitterness, all resentment, all hatred, all offense.
You have to let go of that stuff because even as we read earlier before I started, actually the sermon in Mark 11, it says that, "Whatever we ask in Jesus's name believing that we have received it, we will get it. However, when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, you have to leave it, drop it, let it go or your Heavenly Father cannot forgive you". Can somebody please hear that enough to actually believe it today? Do we realize what that's saying? That any prayer that I pray, if I'm praying it with unforgiveness in my heart, God cannot and is not going to answer that prayer.
Sometimes we're praying for God to change somebody, and we're in the middle of hating them while they're asking God to change them. You know, you can't love what you want somebody to be. You gotta love them where they're at. Did you hear me? We can't love what we want somebody to be, we have to love them where they're at and that will help them get to where they need to be. And I'm not suggesting that you let people abuse you, or you let them take advantage of you, that's not whey I'm talking about at all, but I am saying that you can't carry this stuff around in your heart. Think about what Jesus said on the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do". Stephen, when he was being stoned said, "Forgive them". We read last night how Paul, when everybody deserted him, he said, "Lord, forgive 'em".
You know, I think a lot of times when people hurt us, they really don't know what they're doing. They're acting out of their own pain. A lot of times people hurt us and they don't even realize that they've hurt us. And I'm not saying at all that my father did not know that what he was doing to me when he was sexually abusing me was wrong. He had to know it was wrong or he wouldn't have gone to such extremes to hide it, but I really don't believe that he understood what it was doing to me. And it, really, when he was in his 80s, he told me that he said, "I had no idea how bad I was hurting you". Well, he grew up in a household of incest, and so he was acting out of learned behavior.
And hurting people hurt people. When you learn that, it helps you to be able to get over the things that people do to you. There's so much stress in the world, and people today are just about to explode, and they end up hurting other people, and then we keep letting them hurt us by staying bitter and miserable. Life hurts people, so let me just ask: are you bitter because your life has had a little more than its normal share of bitter events? Just be honest this morning, how many of you had a pretty tough, tough time in life? Let's see. I have too. I mean, I've had breast cancer. I've had migraine headaches. I was abused in my childhood just, you know, on and on and on and on and on. But God has more than made up. Come on, God has more than made up, my goodness.
Let me tell ya something, life is not fair, but God is just. Life is not fair, but God is just, and the devil will hurt you any way that he can hurt you because, let's be honest, he hates you. He hates anybody that loves God because he hates God. And the moment that you decide that you're gonna follow Jesus, the enemy is gonna be after you from that point on. You'll have breaks, thank God we get breaks, but when he was tempting Jesus in the wilderness for those 40 days and 40 nights, the story's in Luke chapter 4, it says that after he had completed his cycle of temptations. Come on now, you ever feel like you're just one thing after another after another? You know, after he had completed his cycle of temptations, he went away to wait for a more opportune time.
I think that's so interesting. We gotta get smarter, and we gotta watch and pray, and that means we learn enough about how the enemy operates that we catch him right away. So much of our battle is in our mind. Life is not so bad if we learn how to look at it the right way. How many people look all the time at what they don't have and never bother to look at what they do have? When I said how many of you had a pretty rough life, about half of the lands went up, and I'm sure you have had a very rough life, but I can tell you that you can help yourself right now today by doing just what I've had to learn how to do. I have to not look at what I don't have, and what I haven't had, and what I've lost, and what I've missed, and look at what I do have and what God has done for me.
I still wonder sometimes once in a while I found myself the other day wondering, wonder what it would be like to have a mom and a dad that actually really loved you. Wonder what it would be like to have a dad that you could go to for advice, or a mom that really stood up for you. I wonder what it would be like to have a sister that I could hang out with. I wonder what it would be like to really get to be a kid. My childhood was stolen, I never got to be a child, but you know what? God's given me back my childhood in my later years in life. God is a God of justice, you know what that means? He always makes wrong things right.
Life may not be fair, but now listen to what I'm gonna say because if you miss this sentence, you miss the whole thing. If you're willing to do things God's way, and that's the long and the short of it. If you're willing to do things God's way, then he will make up to you many times over for anything bad that has ever happened to you if you're willing to do things God's way. And that means that you're willing to obey God whether you want to or not, whether you think it's fair or not, whether it feels good or not, whether you like it or not, you get committed to doing things God's way because you actually really do believe that God is smarter than you are and that his ways work. Until the time you leave here, hopefully and prayerfully by the grace and the mercy of God, not one person leaves here and takes your bitterness and anger and unforgiveness with you, but you're gonna leave it, walk away from it, let it go and get about the business of living and enjoying your life, amen? Yes!
Psalm 37, the first ten verses we're gonna go through them. "Don't worry because of evildoers, nor be envious toward wrongdoers: for they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb. Trust rely on and have confidence in the Lord and do good". Wow, I don't even know if you know how important verse 3 is in Psalm 37. I got a hold of this five or six years ago, and the book that I wrote on "Unshakable trust", there's two chapters in it on trust God and do good.
You know, when we're having problems, we always hear, "Trust God, trust God," but that's not all the Bible says. Trust God, and while you're trusting God, make the devil as mad as you possibly can by being as good as you possibly can to as many people as you possibly can. Because that is the exact opposite of what a normal person would do. Normal people, when they're hurting get cranky and grouchy, and they don't want to be around anybody and they take it out on everybody else, but the Bible says the worst you're hurting, the more good you should do for other people. Who wants do that?
We overcome evil with good, Romans 12:21. That is the biggest, most powerful spiritual secret in the Bible. If evil things have been done to you, you will never overcome them or get over them by returning to somebody else what you got. See, I spent years, I was making, trying to make my husband pay for what my dad did to me. You know, you do that. When you're mad at somebody and you can't get them back, you'll take it out on the people in your life.
How many of you know that you do that? It wasn't his fault. I treated him like it was his fault because I wanted somebody to pay. I wanted somebody to pay, but then I found out in Matthew 18, whenever the man was being asked to forgive somebody for a small debt, he could not pay. The guy could not pay him back. Only God can pay you back for what's been done to you. People can't pay you back, only God can pay you back and he won't just give you what was taken, he'll give you double what was taken. If you do things his way.
Trust God and do good. Stop worrying so much about what everybody's done to you and do as much good as you possibly can every single day of your life. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord: trust also in him and he will do it. He will make your righteousness (your pursuit of right standing with God) like the light, and your judgment like the shining of the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord: wait patiently for him and entrust yourself to him: don't fret (whine or agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and abandon wrath". Cease from anger and abandon wrath. "Do not fret: it leads only to evil. For those who do evil will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. For yet a little while and the wicked one will be gone forever: though you look carefully where he used to be, he will not be found".
God will take care of your enemies if you wait on him. In Psalms 61:7, says, "Instead of your former shame, you'll have a double portion: and instead of humiliation, your people will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore," now listen to this, "In their land" I'm glad that doesn't say, "When you go to heaven". Therefore while you're still here, in this lifetime, living your life, "You will possess double what you forfeited and everlasting joy will be yours". Somebody give God a praise. Any time that you handle your enemies the way God tells you to handle your enemies, now listen to me, there will be a reward in your life.
How many of you have seen that? You've forgiven somebody that hurt you, and I mean you can see how God has blessed your life because of that. Anybody seen somebody come to the Lord because you were willing to forgive them and... see? My dad was saved, not until he was 83, but the devil didn't get him, amen? The Bible says in Mark 4:17 that many are offended by trouble. These are people who have no deep roots. They hear the word and it sounds exciting until they have to apply it in their life. Isn't my message good today on... it's so good, you'll clap and cheer for it. I wonder how much you'll like it this afternoon if you have to apply it? It's the truth. We think it's all good when we're just hearing it, but it's putting it to work in our life. That's where the pain starts. It's when it happens to you.
Oh, how easy it is to preach to everybody else. It can be the same way with me. I can just enjoy myself preaching to you guys this weekend, last night, all day today, but let me tell you something, I get home tonight and something happens that I don't like, then I'm gonna have to apply what I've been preaching to you all day, and if you think you get tested, you should live on this end of it. I think that you can make a decision ahead of time before you ever get hurt how you're gonna respond, and I think it needs to be part of our walk with God that we're always praying, "God, if and when I get hurt, help me respond properly. When somebody offends me, help me not to take the offense". Be ready, be prepared to forgive.
In Habakkuk 3:16 through 19 it starts out and he says, "I heard and my whole inner self trembled: my lips quivered at the sound. Decay and rottenness enter my bones, and I trembled in my place. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade and attack us". Habakkuk knew that they were about to be invaded by a great enemy and he knew that there was trouble, trouble, trouble coming, and he was shaken and quaking.
How many of you know sometimes when you say you've been to the doctor and he calls you and wants you to come in for a consultation as soon as you can it's like uh-oh. Man, you can get scared and nervous before you ever get there. Well, look at the decision that Habakkuk made before the enemy ever got there. "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vine, though the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls". In other words, no matter how bad things turn out, I will choose to rejoice in the Lord.
Come on, we can make a decision ahead of time that no matter what happens, we're going to rejoice in the Lord. Can I tell you something? You're not gonna like it but I'm gonna tell you anyway 'cause it's true. Everything is not always gonna turn out the way you would like it to. Welcome to real life. This is not a movie. It's not a soap opera, people are mean, they're selfish, they're self-centered, they'll take advantage of you, you'll get hurt, yet you can make a choice. You don't have to hate people because they're mean. You can actually have compassion for them and feel sorry for them, and that's really what we're supposed to do.
I got to the point with my dad where I felt so bad for him because he never had a life. He didn't get a good start. He wasn't taught properly and that doesn't mean that what he did was right. It wasn't right and he knew it wasn't right, but he had no life. When he died, there was nobody to go to his funeral, nobody cared, nobody missed him. All he had at the end of his life was regrets. Don't waste your life and get to be 90 years old and look back and have nothing but regrets. Have something to look back on that you can be happy about.
"I will rejoice because the Lord God is my strength and my source of courage, my invincible army. He has made my feet like hinds' feet and makes me walk forward with spiritual confidence on my high places". And this is what the amplified Bible says high places are, challenge and responsibility, hmm? Come on, I don't want to have do that again. Act like you got it. Don't waste your pain, that's the actual title of my message today. Everybody gets hurt. Everybody wants to be healed, but not everybody is then ready to help somebody else. And I believe that there's a purpose in what happens in our life.
I don't think that God's the one that hurts us, but I do think that sometimes he could deliver us sooner than what he does. How many of you think he could do that? And it gets very confusing sometimes why he doesn't. "If you could deliver me now, why are you gonna make me go through this for a year before you do it"? Because to be honest, we're just like kids and, you know, sometimes you gotta let kids hurt for a little while, kind of pay the price for what they've done, why? Because you love them and you want them to learn not do it again, amen? So, if I have gotten myself into a mess through lack of knowledge, or bad choices, or disobedience, or whatever, sometimes the best thing that God can do for me is not come and just swiftly deliver me from it, but let me learn a good lesson because you always gain experience by the things that you go through.
And I want to tell you today that God is looking for people to work in his kingdom, but he wants people with experience. Amen? You can have five college degrees and not be as valuable as somebody who was no degree but has five or ten years of experience. "Well, my life's just been wasted". Well, it doesn't have to be. You know, when Jesus fed the 5,000, there was nothing left but crumbs and little fragments. In John 6:12 he said, "Gather up the fragments that nothing be wasted," and I believe that's what God wants to say over your life today. He wants to gather up all the fragments, take all the little pieces that are left over that you feel like are no good, all this stuff that you feel has been wasted in your life, he wants you to gather it all up and say, "Here it is, God, if you can do anything with this mess, it's yours". He will take all of those fragmented pieces of your life and he will make something beautiful out of them and he will cause you by his grace, to be able to use what's been pain to you as gain for somebody else.
All you have to do is think for just a minute. If you like my teaching, you know why you like it, 'cause I didn't just read a book and get up here and preach. Experience is the difference in dry, dead, theology and anointed preaching. Want me to say it again? Experience is the difference in dry, dead theology and anointed preaching and teaching that changes your life when you hear it. That's why two people could preach you the same message and if one of them just put together a sermon that he got out of a book, it can put you to sleep and you can hear the same message, same words by somebody who's lived it and gone through it, and it's on fire and it cuts right down to your heart and changes your life. And I tell you the truth, I just don't try to teach on stuff that I don't know anything about.
Somebody said to me recently, "I think you should do a series on revelation". I said, "No, I shouldn't". I should not. Why? Because I don't understand it. And I know it's important and I read revelations 'cause the Bible says you're blessed when you do, but there are a thousand different theories about the end times. And I'll tell you what my theory is, just be ready to go at anytime. I mean, why do we need to know... I mean, Paul thought he was living in the last days. Also we all say Jesus is coming back soon. Well, I mean I know one thing, if he was living in the last days, it's the laster of the last days now.
And so, I don't know if Jesus will come back in my lifetime, but I'll tell you what I'm happy about, he can come get me tonight and I'm ready to go. A that's the way you want to live. You don't want to live like, "Boy, I hope I, you know, I want to get one of these revelation series so I can know when Jesus is coming back so I can hurry up and get ready in case he's coming is soon". No honey, we gotta live ready, not get ready, live ready. Don't be afraid of dying. Be excited to go to heaven. That's when life really starts. And Jesus is coming back soon, and this is no time to be messing around and not doing what God's telling you to do.
And if nothing else, we can start here this weekend by forgiving everybody that's ever hurt us and making a decision, "I am gonna live my life angry at people who are hurting me and probably don't even know what they're doing. I'm gonna do what God says and I'm gonna pray for them because I don't want them to go to hell. I want them to be saved and I want them to have a good life". And when you start doing that, the devil better get out of the way because he's done controlling you. We got a little Holy Ghost fire going on in here today. Now I'm in the middle of 20 messages and don't know what I'm doing. Let your mess become your ministry.
You know, I was talking to a girl the other day and boy, her life turned out so much different than what she thought it was going to. I remember her before she got married and looked like she was gonna be a really good preacher. And she worked for us for a while in our prison ministry, and she got married, and she had a daughter and her first daughter had cerebral palsy and was autistic in addition to that. And so, she's had, needless to say, a rough go. She had a little boy and they told her he was autistic and she stood against it and said, "No, he's not. I'm not having it". And he ended up being okay.
But instead of just being bitter and resentful because her life didn't turn out the way that she thought it was going to, she has made it a ministry now, she's trying to work with as many churches as possible to get them to have a special program, a special room, and get volunteers who will take care of the special needs kids on Sunday morning so the parents can have that one time a week to sit in church together. Because see, I don't know what that's like because I've never dealt with that. But she's taking... See, when you take something bad and you turn it around and try to do something good with it, then that alleviates a lot of your pain. That doesn't mean that it's still not difficult where days are at, but, you know, I'm using what happened to me to try to help other people because I've seen what God can do in your life if you'll do things his way.
The world just sees things so differently and they don't understand that you can have a tragedy and come out of it triumphantly actually better than you were when you went into it. That's the kind of God we serve. Come on, that's the kind of God we serve. He can take a tragedy and turn it into a blessing. See, there's a lot of stuff I don't know but I tell ya one thing I do know, and I believe this. I'm not just preaching. I believe that if we want God's will and we love him, that he will take everything that happens to us and work it out for our good. I believe that.
Some of the people that work for me and people that we hang out with, we have a little saying, "This is gonna end well. This is going to end well". Come on, whatever you're going through right now, if you'll do things God's way, it's gonna end well. Now, I'm not making any promises to the disobedient but if you're willing to love God and do what he's telling you to do, come on. And we're talking this weekend about getting better and not bitter, being burnt but not bitter and that means letting go of all this junk from the past and don't offer up an excuse. "You don't know what they did to me. You don't know how hard it is". I do know how hard it is. God does not anoint us to do easy stuff. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in our life because we can do, listen to me, we can do whatever God tells us to do because he helps us do it. You can forgive.
Okay 2 Corinthians 1:3 and 4. These are cool scriptures right here. Listen, "Blessed gratefully praised and adored be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort". Now, get a hold of verse 4, "Who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God". So, what's he saying here? He's like, okay, when you're in trouble, you've got the God of all comfort to call on, the God of mercy and comfort and he's gonna come and comfort you. And yes, he wants you to feel good, but there's a higher purpose. He wants to comfort you. You've been hurt. He wants to heal you.
Now he wants you to go and help somebody else, and he wants you because you've had to experience of seeing what God will do for you, now you are licensed and equipped with experience to go and tell somebody else God can comfort you in this. He can get you through it and they're going to believe you, not because you're convincing them but because there is an anointing on your life because of what you've been through. When you go through things, you come out with an anointing.
Come on, the lady who anointed Jesus's feet, she had to break the bottle. There has to be some crushing done for the anointing oil to come out. If you study how they got that anointing oil, it came from seeds that had to be crushed in order to get to the oil. And sometimes our flesh has to be crushed in order for God to get to the good stuff that's on the inside of us that's really gonna help people. Amen?
How many times have we all said to God, "This is killing me"? And one day I finally realized, you know what? It's actually true. It really is killing me so Christ can live through me. Did you hear me? "Oh, I can't stand this". Yeah, you can. If you couldn't, you wouldn't be going through it. Okay, God comforts you, and what does he expect you to do? He expects you to turn around now and comfort somebody else. Come on, God doesn't heal us just so we can sit around and feel good. There's a purpose for you. If there was no purpose for you, you'd already be out of here and in your mansion in heaven. I don't care how young you are or how old you are, God has got a purpose for you. If you're here, God's got a purpose for you.
And so, instead of just staring at the preacher all the time and waiting for him to do something, you need to find out what God wants you to do and get busy doing it. And it probably won't be a platform ministry and you better pray God that it's not. But let me tell ya something, every single one of you can help somebody. Every one of you can help somebody. Every one of you can put a smile on somebody's face. You can make somebody's life better and when you do, you get so happy, you don't hardly know what to do with yourself. God's purpose is beyond our comprehension when we go through things that are hard. And I know right now some of you are going through some very, very hard things and it makes no sense to you, and you don't understand, and it doesn't seem fair. Trust God and do good.
You know, I don't know if you've ever noticed this or not, but I began to notice in my life that I would be having a very serious problem and I couldn't help myself. There was nothing, no way, no how that I could do to fix my problem but while I couldn't fix my problem, God was using me to fix other people's problems. Now, that's a bit annoying. It's like, okay, why are you letting me help all them and I can't help myself? Well, it's very simple. God doesn't want us helping ourselves. He wants us helping one another, amen? And so here's the way it works, when I reach out and help you, then God reaches out and helps me but if I'm reaching in trying to help myself and I have no time for you, then all I end up doing is wasting my time and I never get helped. Are you understanding that?
So, if you have a problem right now, stop trying to fix yourself. I mean, do what God shows you to do, but be a blessing to somebody else. If we can ever get around acting like real Christians. I mean, we just need to get down to it. "One new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another just as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples". How can we convince the world? Everybody that's a Christian, get out there and love each other. Love your enemies, love your believing brothers and sisters. Forgive people that treat you like dirt. Bless them, help them when they need help.
Joseph was hurt. He received healing, and what'd he do? He helped other people. Genesis 50:18 through 21, "Then his brothers went and fell down before him in confession: then they said, 'behold, we are your servants and your slaves' these are the brothers that sold him. "But Joseph said to them," get this, church, "'do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? Vengeance is his, not mine'". In other words, "Yes, I'm gonna in a place now where I can get you back, but that's not my place. I have one thing to do and that's bless you. God will take care of everything else".
Hello, "I have only one thing to do and that's bless you and God will take care of everything else". "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good," watch the rest of this, "In order to bring about this present outcome, that many people would be kept safe as they are this day". God had to get him into a position where he would not only be in the position to do it, but he would have enough experience to do it to manage Pharaoh's household during that famine and in the process be able to take care of his own family who had mistreated him. Come on, God is so much smarter than we are.
You know, Ruth was hurt when her husband died and her brother-in-law. And when her mother-in-law, Naomi who was a Jew, and Ruth was a Moabites, she worshiped Moab. And so, when Naomi decided well now that her husband's dead and her two daughters-in-law husbands are dead who were her sons, she decided she was gonna go back to her own people in Judah and she encouraged Ruth, a Moabite, to go on back to her home because she said, "I'm broke, I'm poor. I have nothing to offer you. I can't take care of you". But Ruth chose the harder path.
You know how challenging it is to find anybody that will choose the harder path? Moses did that. Says, he preferred to endure hardship with his brethren than to live as the son of Pharaoh. He walked away from a cushy life in order to do what God wanted him to do and be in a position to help people. Well, Ruth chose to stay with her mother-in-law and they had nothing to eat. She had to glean in the fields in order to even get food to eat. She chose the hard path because she believed it was what God wanted her to do and she said, "Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God". Well, she ended up marrying the richest guy in the county and coming in a direct bloodline of Jesus Christ. Not a bad reward, amen?
You know, our pain can have a purpose if we're obedient to do whatever God shows us to do. He cannot only use it for our good, but also for the good of those around us. Let your pain become somebody else's gain.