When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
- Genesis 39:19-20
Joseph resisted the temptation to sleep with his master’s wife. In her anger over being rejected, she fabricated a story about Joseph. And Joseph ended up in jail.
Integrity is always rewarded. But the reward for integrity isn’t always comfort, acceptance, or career advancement.
What happens inside of us when we see people punished for showing integrity? We can give up on integrity. We can join in all their reindeer games. We can slip into despair and complaining. But Joseph didn’t do any of this.
Joseph continued to show integrity. The same integrity he displayed in his experience of slavery was put on display during his time in prison. And the same integrity that got him unjustly sent to prison also led to him thriving in prison. Before too much time had passed, Joseph was running the prison as an aide to the warden.
He didn’t give up on integrity and he didn’t give up on God. And God didn’t give up on him. They stayed together in the midst of what must have felt to Joseph as a wild, tumultuous, and uncertain journey.
What do you do when it looks like integrity is punished? Careful examination of your past patterns of behavior can help you identify places where you might be susceptible to temptation and in need of transformation.
Take some time today to reflect on your experience. Where have you been punished for showing integrity? How did you respond? What in your patterns of response would you hope would be different next time? Ask God to help you change.