Tag Archives: happiness

Joseph and the power of forgiveness

Are you struggling to forgive yourself and others? The biblical story of Joseph is one of the most powerful teachings of how the ways of the universe or God can be very different from the plans we often make in life.

Joseph was slandered, beaten, and sold into slavery by his own brothers because of jealousy. Joseph could have easily succumbed to his fate but he never lost faith that everything in life had purpose and meaning.

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Photo by Hussain Badshah on Unsplash

The trap of the blame game

Only from such a perspective could he forgive his brothers and move out of the trap of the blame game. He made the best out of his situation to such an extent that Potiphar, the man who bought him on the slave market in Egypt, soon promoted him to a higher position. Later he was put in charge of managing Potiphar’s huge estate.

Potiphar had taken a liking to Joseph and must have been impressed by his kindness, wisdom, and humility. For all intents and purposes, Joseph had made it. But Potiphar’s bored wife had taken just as much a liking to the handsome young Joseph. Realizing that he would betray his master who had done so much for him, Joseph avoided the advances of Potiphar’s wife who became so upset that she accused him of rape. Joseph was thrown into prison losing everything. He could again have succumbed to despondency.

But it so happens that he meets in prison two of the Pharaoh’s ministers who had lost favor with the ruler. One of them was eventually released from prison and restored to his old position. Only when the Pharaoh had a strange dream did the minister remember the time in prison with Joseph who had impressed him as an interpreter of dreams. Long story short, Joseph gets released from prison to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream. The essence of the dream was that the ruler had to prepare the country for seven years of drought. Amazingly Joseph’s fortune changed in an instant when the Pharaoh recognized the wisdom of the man he was dealing with.  Joseph gets made viceroy of all of Egypt as the righthand man of the most powerful ruler of the world at the time.

Life comes in strange twists and turns

True to the dream interpretation the drought did come and only by wise management of the food and grain resources could countless lives be saved including those of Joseph’s brother and aging father Jacob.

Life comes often in strange twists and turns. Fortunes can be earned and lost overnight. High positions of political power and influence may be gone tomorrow. The amazing story of Joseph is that he never lost trust and faith. By forgiving his brothers and Potiphar’s wife for falsely accusing him, he made peace with himself and could go into trust and humility. From that energy grew his wisdom and incredible foresight to prevent a catastrophe.

Forgiving does not mean approval of wrongdoing

Forgiving does not mean that you are approving of wrongdoing, of abuse, and all the terrible things that humans do to each other. It is making peace with the past in the knowledge that you are the person today because of all of that which you have experienced. The famous Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl only survived the Nazi death camps by telling himself that “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s one way.”

Nelson Mandela was often asked why he did not seek retribution from the white apartheid rulers who imprisoned him for 27 years. His answer: “Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

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Are you into conspiracy theory?

A broad cross-section of people I have come across lately believe in conspiracy theories.  The argument mostly goes like this:  The world is being ruled by a small group of people who decide and control most of the things that happen in the world today from political decision-making to technological invention.

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Conspiracy theorists seem to have moved from the fringe to the mainstream.  Here is the top 10 list of conspiracy theories compiled by Time magazine:

Some conspiracy theories in history have in fact been proven true, like the Nixon cover-up in the Watergate affair, the Iran-Contra affair and the Libyan involvement in the terror attack on the Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988.  One of the most absurd allegations during  South Africa’s apartheid era also turned out to be true many years later.  Research was actually being conducted on a virus that would only kill the blacks.

But there is a need to be a bit more  sceptical when it comes to some of the conspiracy theories out there. The common thread seems to be to find a way to explain in simplistic terms many of the events happening in a world of growing complexity. A lot of people have the tendency to form an opinion and then verifying what they believe with some information on the Internet. On closer scrutiny the article or website turns out to be a badly written diatribe of a single opinion without any valid sourcing or solid evidence

Take the story on the so-called “fake moon landing”. I cannot possibly imagine thousands of people working on such a complex space project over many years and all of them keeping a “fake made in a Disney film studio” a secret for decades. The world is so intricate and complex that the truth in the end always comes out. A cover-up, especially if many people are involved, simply doesn’t work. It is a human tendency to tell their family and friends “a secret.” Someone will always spill the beans.

The issue that needs to be addressed is the gullibility with which every half-truth, speculation and downright wacky theory is being claimed as truth while sound investigative journalism, scientific study or a judicial finding is being ignored or slammed as being part of this conspiracy thing. Part of the problem is that established media is not doing its job and has lost credibility by placing emphasis on superficial entertainment instead of being a watchdog on society and itself blasting some of these theories into the world without verifying the facts.  A growing number of people feel alienated in a fast-changing society and are seeking simple answers.

Conspiracy theories first and foremost feed on fear. Here lies the bigger problem. Fear breeds irrationality and a victim mentality. It is just a short step away from blaming a religious or racial minority, the politicians, the media or anyone else for all that is going wrong in the world.  It’s a “cop out” mentality of refusing to stand up and taking responsibility.

We have the freedom of choice on most things that matter. Health and personal happiness is a choice. It is a  choice of what we eat, how we exercise, what we read, what people, family and friends we want to spend our time with and especially what information we are feeding our minds with.

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