Did You Injure Yourself Just to Get Drugs?
Then Judah went up to him and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant . . .” Genesis 44:18
The week my life fell apart due to my addiction, I also happened to injure my knee. That was a rough week. I’d already confessed to my wife that I’d been using drugs and I’d lost my job. My career was a disaster and I was headed to treatment. My life was a wreck, but I wanted to spend as much time with my kids as I could before I had to go away. So, we were outside playing when I jumped off a log and just felt my left ACL tear. I’d torn it twice previously, so I knew instantly what it was. I limped home with the kids, feeling sorry for myself.
Over the next couple of days, those who knew me wondered out loud if I’d done it on purpose just to get drugs. It was a fair question. Previously, I’d used every ache and pain as an excuse to use. This time, I was innocent of the manipulative behavior, but that didn’t really matter. I’d manipulated enough over the previous 15 years, that my innocence in this one instance was inconsequential. I could have protested, but I wasn’t innocent. I’d behaved terribly for a long time, and I was simply reaping the consequences of that behavior.
Joseph’s brothers found themselves in a similar position in today’s passage. They’d once sold Joseph into Egyptian slavery, but now they stood before him buying grain, not recognizing him. When they headed home, Joseph tested them by hiding their money back in their grain sacks along with his silver cup, which was put in Benjamin’s sack. He then sent men to catch up with them, accusing them of stealing, and had them dragged back to Egypt. Technically, they’d were innocent. They hadn’t stolen anything. To Joseph though, that hardly mattered. They’d sold him into slavery. Judah, one of his brothers, pled his case but didn’t argue their innocence. Judah simply tried to convince Joseph to let him take Benjamin’s place as a prisoner for stealing the silver cup. It was the right move as it convinced Joseph that his brothers had truly changed.
What am I now known for? Back in the disaster of my addiction, others were suspicious of my every move because my previous behaviors had revealed my corrupt motives. In recovery now though, I hope that I’m known, not for lies and manipulation, but for integrity and truth. It’s my hope that when others look at me, they see a life pointed at God, not a life of manipulation, drugs, and addiction. It’s not the one action which forms other’s opinion of me, but rather it’s my entire life.