The story of Joseph has been told again and again. As you might know, when Joseph’s older brothers sold him into slavery, a series of events was initiated by which God, over the course of 13 years, caused Joseph to become the second highest ruler in Egypt. Nine years later, after Joseph’s brothers had come to Egypt seeking grain during an intense famine, Joseph revealed himself to them. That revealing and the events that followed it allowed the entire family to be reconciled in Egypt. The climax of the story comes when Joseph says of his brothers selling him into slavery:
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive (Genesis 50:20).
This quote from Joseph is the Old Testament version of Romans 8:28, which says to Christians:
And we know that ALL things work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
It is fair to say that Joseph was a victim because, unquestionably, he was victimized by the actions of his brothers. However, it is also fair to say that he didn’t remain a victim. Unlike so many people who have wrong turns done to them, Joseph didn’t allow himself to bathe in self-pity and self-centeredness. Rather than fade into bitterness and isolation, he made the best of his new life in Egypt. How was he able to do this? The answer is simple: Joseph had faith in God. He knew that God was big enough to take the evil that had been done to him and actually use it as building blocks to accomplish His good purposes in Joseph’s life.
As is so often the case with scriptural truths, the prime example of this one can be found in the life of Jesus. The Jewish religious leaders and the Romans were in sin when they worked in unison to get Jesus crucified. We know this because Jesus’ first words as He hung on the cross were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). But Jesus understood that God the Father would use His death on that cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the entire human race (1 John 2:1-2).
You see, God the Father, in His perfect omniscience and foreknowledge, saw the sinful actions of those Jews and Romans coming far in advance (even before the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8), and He devised a plan whereby He would use that evil to accomplish His good purpose. In Acts 2:23, Peter even says that Jesus was “delivered (to the cross) by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God.”
So, was Joseph a victim? Yes, he was, but only temporarily. In the end, God used the evil done to him as building blocks to transform him from VICTIM to VICTOR. Was Jesus a victim? Yes, He was, but only temporarily. In the end, God used the evil done to Him as building blocks to transform Him from VICTIM to VICTOR. And are you a victim if someone or some group has sinfully wronged you? Yes, you are. The key, though, is to see yourself as a temporary victim as opposed to a permanent one, and claim God’s promise to use the evil done to you to transform you from VICTIM to VICTOR.