Paul Sailhammer tells the story of the notorious Mexican bandito, Jorge Rodriguez.
For years Rodriguez terrorized the Texas border towns, killing and stealing and hording a vast treasure in his beloved Mexico. One day, a wily Texas Ranger finally caught up to the outlaw in a tiny cantina in Nuevo Laredo. He quickly drew down on Jorge and said, “Okay, you bandit. Tell me where you’ve stashed your treasure or I’m going to fill you full of lead.”
The criminal looked confused. A local native came over and said, “Sorry gringo, but Jorge… he does not speak English. If you would like, I will translate for you.”
The ranger said, “You tell him that I said either tell me where the treasure is or I’m filling him full of lead.”
The interpreter relayed the message to Jorge. Jorge replied in Spanish, “Okay you have me dead to rights. My treasure is buried under a big Mesquite tree on the left hand side of the road as you head out of town. You can’t miss it, there’s a big white stone propped up over the site.”
“What’d he say?” The Ranger asked.
The interpreter replied, “Jorge say, ‘Go ahead and shoot, gringo, I’ll never tell you where my treasure is!’”
We all have a friend like Jorge’s. This kind of betrayal can even happen in families! When people are involved, conflict is inevitable, and pain is the byproduct. You can’t avoid it, but you can choose how you respond to it.
Joseph was the youngest boy in a highly competitive family. His father Jacob favored him above the others. Joseph had a dream that one day he would rule over his brothers. In his immaturity, Joseph shared the dream with his siblings.
They were so impressed that they threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery.
Joseph spent the next thirteen years being mistreated and misunderstood. God eventually delivered Joseph from the pits and put him at the pinnacle of power, second only to Pharaoh.
The time came for him to deal with the pain of his past. God orchestrated events so that the brothers had to come to Joseph for help. In the process of a painful reconciliation, Joseph offers this rare and remarkable insight.
“You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20)
Some people will hurt you. God wants to take those scars and turn them to stars. He’ll use it for good, but to do that one thing is required: Forgiveness.