Abuse Never Happens to "Good People"

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt.” – Genesis 39:1

If you didn’t know better, you’d make nothing of Genesis 39:1. It sounds harmless. Far from it. Joseph’s been sold into slavery, a horrific trauma. His brothers did this. They roughed him up, stole his clothes, threw him into a cistern, and debated whether to kill him. If that’s not domestic violence, I don’t know what is. When they sold him, they handed him over to who knows what. He goes from slave pen to slave master, eventually prison, places where abuse are cliché. You know the reputation of prison showers. Slaves are non-people: do what you want to them.

Maybe Joseph deserved it. Nothing in the Bible suggests that. The Spirit shows us no terrible sin. Or even small ones. Certainly, he was a sinner, but he’s presented as neat and clean. Adam lies. Noah drinks. Abraham sleeps around. Jacob cheats. Joseph? He did nothing wrong. Yet almost no one in Genesis endured more.

The point? Bearing the name Christian is not some trauma-preventing talisman. Sinful things happen to baptized children of God. This doesn’t excuse or minimize them. This doesn’t compel us to stay silent or say, “God wills it.” It compels us to look to the cross. “Lord, have mercy upon us!” And, more, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Only when Christ’s return with new heavens and earth will end trauma. But we can be sure that end is coming. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” You know who said that? The one who endured more trauma than Joseph. For you.

Jesus, deliver us from evil that harms bodies and souls. Grant us peace. If not today, grant it in the blessed end of eternal life with you. Amen.

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