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May 22, 2017, 5:00 AM

How do you handle a difficult situation?

How do you handle a difficult situation? Are you quick to take the easy way out? I used to find myself often thinking, “If I were already where I’d like to be in life, or if my children were super well-behaved, or if my work environment weren’t stressful having integrity wouldn’t be a constant battle.” Life is not perfect and neither am I. I have to ask myself; What if the circumstances in my life, the good and the bad, are meant to develop in me a character where integrity is always evident?


In the life of Joseph, we find a man who chose integrity in some rather hard-pressed situations. Joseph, known for his colorful coat bestowed to him from his father, had some older brothers who were quite jealous of his favoritism. Things only got worse when Joseph shared a dream he had. The vision would suggest that one day, they would bow down to him. Later, he would have another vision where not only the brothers were bowing, but his father and mother as well.


Insulted by the dreams, the brothers were tempted to kill Joseph but settled for selling him. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, purchased Joseph. Can you imagine being given a dream of becoming a ruler, only to become a slave? He could have had a terrible attitude. He could have entered the house feeling sour, pouty and angry. Instead, Joseph kept his integrity and found favor with his master. Maybe he realized having a bad attitude could land him in a worse position than he was already in. By trusting God, his integrity remained, and Joseph obtained authority over all the household. 


Joseph was doing well enough in his new life until one day; Potiphar’s wife approached Joseph insisting on him to be intimate with her. He refused, but she did not give up so easily. Day after day she would confront him; day after day, he refused. Talk about personal integrity. Not only did he refuse Poitphar’s wife, but he reminded her of his authority over the household. “But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” Genesis 39:8-9 He had responsibilities and took them very seriously. Joseph also took God seriously. We can hear it when he tells her that adultery is “a great evil and sin against God.”


Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife decides to accuse Joseph of the very thing he had refused. She lies and tells Potiphar that Joseph had tried to be intimate with her and Joseph is thrown into prison. But even after being falsely accused, Joseph keeps his integrity. God grants him favor in the eyes of the warden who gives him authority over the other prisoners.


Throughout all the events in Joseph’s life, the Lord was with him, and he remained in the Lord. He entered every situation with confidence in God’s sovereignty and believed that what God had revealed to him in his dream would come to pass. Supported and carried in this confidence, Joseph was able to endure the difficult trials of his life; he was content through the process. You never heard him complain throughout scripture even when he had the right to do so. He was faithful to God, trusting Him through it all, therefore finding strength to keep his integrity in every situation.


Joseph’s story ends with him as second in command to Pharaoh. His family does indeed end up bowing to him. But still, his integrity is evident. Joseph doesn’t throw the past in their faces. He extends grace and kindness. The life he lived is an excellent example of what integrity looks like, especially when confronted with difficult circumstances. It proves that having integrity is both necessary and beneficial. Do you believe that by keeping your integrity the outcome will be more beneficial?


This is my Prayer: Father God, in times when leaving my integrity at the door may seem easier, help me to remember that staying true to You not only benefits my own life, but the lives of others. Lord give me the strength to endure all things with the right attitude.  Jesus help me trust that You are sovereign and are shaping me more into Your image.  In Your name, Amen.

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