When Someone Near Me Sins

Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. Genesis 40:1-3

God does not redeem sin when the person who committed it is an unbeliever. He is not their Father and they are not in relationship with Him. But when someone sins who is nearby, especially someone whose sin affects me, then I can know that God is active somehow and that the redemptive process is working for my ultimate good.


Joseph is in prison, a place where it would be easy to believe that God is inactive. His privacy is interrupted when he is given two cellmates, both strangers to him. They have sinned against Pharaoh and while Joseph doesn’t have a relationship with Pharoah, nor does he have a relationship with the cupbearer and the baker, their sins will have direct impact on Joseph’s life.


When will I fully grasp that God is involved in everything that has anything to do with me? He is providentially tying all perceived loose ends together. I have met no one by mistake. I have worked for no one by mistake. I have not suffered at the hands of anyone by mistake. I have not been betrayed by mistake. The sins committed by all those in proximity to me are woven into my redemptive storyline.


The sins of the baker and cupbearer will eventually result in Joseph gaining an audience with the Pharaoh. If Joseph had known that their sins would somehow be useful to him, he could never have guessed how. Nor can I predict how the sins of those around me will impact my future. At the very least, they will afford me wisdom as I learn the patterns and progressions of sinful choices.


Here’s what I need to remind myself of today. Yes, I am grieved when I watch other people sin, whether in my family, my church, or within my circle of friends. Because I have no control over them and their sin is hurting others, it can feel hopeless. In this web, however, are God’s hidden gifts. Someone who is sinning nearby me may be used by God to advance me, or to teach me, or to wound me so that I can experience the double fold blessing of God’s healing and redemption. My faith should swell at the announcement of such good news.

My life is in such good hands, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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