Sometimes we are hurt deeply by the very people who we should be trusting to protect us. Betrayal is painful, but I believe it hurts all the more when we are betrayed by someone close to us. I think it is because when it is an enemy that betrayed us, we may be hurt but their behavior doesn't shock us. When it is a friend or family, the betrayal can just tear us apart. Yesterday, I looked at how Jacob's sons showed a lot of dysfunction in the way they responded to Jacob's favoritism of Joseph. The first part of Genesis 37 lays out their jealousy and hatred of Joseph, which was a very dysfunctional response to their circumstances. Today, I want to continue looking at Joseph's story and his brother's betrayal; please read Genesis 37:13-36.
We are not told anything about Joseph's response to this betrayal, so we have no idea how he was feeling. However, we are told a lot about his brothers' feelings toward Joseph. In fact, I believe this chapter is a good warning for all of us in the way we react to circumstances that seem unfair. In the first eleven verses of chapter 37, we are told that his brother's jealousy turned into hatred. That is a scary place to be! First of all, it is so opposite of who God is and that means if we ever are feeling hatred toward someone in our heart that means we are doing a 180 from where God wants us. The next thing I noticed is the fact that Joseph was at home with his father while his brothers were tending the sheep. That couldn't have helped their attitude toward him!
When his brothers saw him coming, they immediately began to plot to kill him. When we begin to walk in the exact opposite direction of God, our judgement will change. Their hatred of him was so great that they didn't think anything of the consequences of killing Joseph. But Reuben stepped in and prevented them from killing Joseph and secretly plotted to save him later by giving them a new plan. One thing that I noticed is that the brothers were so engrossed in their hatred that they didn't even think anything of Reuben's suggestion of letting Joseph die slowly and alone in the cistern. Only until the brothers had an opportunity to gain from Joseph's plight did they consider not killing him. They received twenty pieces of silver for Joseph...something so temporary and easily squandered that would result in such great pain for their father.
It is scary to see how unforgiveness and bitterness turns to hate. That hate is never satisfied and causes us to make decisions that have no thought of the consequences. The further we walk away from God, the worse our decision making becomes. When we walk the opposite direction of God, our behavior will become destructive and we please our desires over considering how we are hurting others. This story shows an extreme of how important it is to give our grievances to God and allow Him to do His amazing work in our lives. Hanging on to bitterness and hurt only hurts us and everyone around us.
Have you given your pain over to God?
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.