“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”
When reading through the genealogy of Joseph, one can’t help but read about some of the people in his family history who were known for some very bad things in their life. There is Tamar, who played the harlot and had a child with her father-in-law. There is Rahab, who was known as being a harlot. There is Bathsheba, whose relationship with David was born out of an adulterous relationship. There is Abraham, who in a weak moment in his life had an affair with Hagar. There is Jacob, who was known for a life of deceit. If we were to go through the kings in Joseph’s family tree, there were many wicked acts that came from some of these kings.
However, Joseph didn’t allow his family history to become the excuse to continue living in the same manner that they lived. Joseph realized that someone had to break the chain of some very bad traits and choose to live right. Joseph himself was faced with a choice when he found out that Mary was pregnant, and he wasn’t the person who made her pregnant. Joseph’s ability to overcome his history allowed him to be the stepfather of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Several lessons can be learned from Joseph’s life about overcoming one’s history.
First, everyone has a history. There is no doubt that every person could go through their family history and find people whose character was less than noble. The reason everyone has a history in their family line is because they are humans, and humans are sinners. When you let your family history remind you of your humanity, you can keep from being a spot on your family tree, and instead become a hero to those who follow. Just because your family history is not much to talk about doesn’t give you an excuse to continue the history.
Second, let your family history be a lesson of what not to do instead of a tool of destruction to destroy those whom God used to give you life. Just because those before you made some mistakes doesn’t give you a right to try and destroy them. Why would you contribute to the destruction of those who gave you life after sin has already had its ruining hand on their life? History should be a lesson of how to build and avoid mistakes instead of a tool to destroy your heritage. Just because others before you have made a mistake doesn’t make you better than they. Always remember that your life is not finished, and you might withhold casting the stones at those who have already lived their lives until your life is done. My experience of those who cast the stone at their predecessors is that they end up doing the same things they criticized, and many times they did worse.
Third, you must overcome your history because someone is following you who could change the world. Joseph never thought that he would be the one who would influence the young child, Jesus Christ. I believe that the reason God chose Joseph to be the stepfather of our Saviour is because of his ability to forgive the past, and learn how to use the past as a lesson to build on the future. The greatest reason you cannot continue the bad habits of history is because you are influencing the next generation. Those you are influencing might be the next great revivalist or soul winner who could change the world for Christ. My friend, let Joseph’s life be a reminder to you that your history doesn’t have to be an excuse to fail, but a motivator to overcome and build. There is someone you are influencing; be sure to influence them for right.