Life. Life happens. Have you ever come out of a foggy situation, tattered, a little bruised, (metaphorically speaking)? Your heart aches with that familiar ache of disappointment in someone’s behavior? (Or is the behavior yours?)
Their pain, jealousy, hatred, and insecurity causing them to act out in anger. Pain and anger are very intricately linked, that the dividing line fades when actions are applied. If these words resonate even with some small hint of recognition, then you too can relate to Joseph of the Bible.
Joseph, an incredible story–the events that groomed him, the people that mocked him, and the God Who delivered him. One verse dances off the page as it defines his circumstance. Genesis 37:4 “When the brothers saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.”
The word used, they “could not speak a kind word to him” seems to get lost in many of our bible translations. In the Hebrew, the word (kind) is shalom. The brothers due to their jealousy and hatred could not speak peace to Joseph. Peace, meaning health, prosperity, blessing and amazingly so, it can be rendered–safe.
Noticing on in the story of the brothers (turn tormentors) they see Joseph from afar. Their deceitful plan is forever etched in history. First, they plan to kill him. Nope too harsh, (don’t we ALL rationalize). Then they found what was convenient. A deep well. When in haste convenience seems to always trump wisdom!
It says they stripped him of his robe, one of many things that ticked them off, let’s start with the robe, the outward sign of our jealousy. They attempted to remove the evidence of his favored relationship–the gift from their father. I believe this was not done in silence. I bet there was a lot of taunting going on. Rude comments, jesting, a jab here and shove there. Then the final shove, leading to pit dwelling. Then their brother was sold into slavery.
Jealousy and hatred withhold peace. May we think of our own lives: Are we speaking peace to and over others, (regardless of how brief our time is with them). Are we allowing them a safe place in our life? Are we doing our part to help them prosper, stay healthy? Or not? Is there someone who has what we want? Oh, it may not be the enduring love of a father, but perhaps our jealousy stems elsewhere. At what cost does our lack of peace affect others? Is it worth it? Are we giving them the gift of peace or throwing them in a pit? (Ouch!)
I have heard it said, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” It actually hurts us in the long run. The story goes on that Joseph becomes highly successful while the brothers and family live in feminine. They ultimately end up going to Joseph for their very survival. So, who was it that ended up in the pit? The brothers or Joseph?
The Pastor of Hebrews exhorts, “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life ” (Hebrews 12:14a, NLT). Yes, work it WILL be. It won’t be easy and not pretty at times. Yet peace is what we are called to. Paul states in Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit–the qualities of having Jesus in our life are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control” (5:22,23).
Oh Jesus, we invite You, we need You, live in and through us! May it begin with us. May we be Your ambassadors of peace.
Peace or a pit? For us and them.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24)