Someone negatively speaks in a hushed tone. We read disturbing comments on our posts. Someone criticizes a part of us we can’t change. Naturally, things like this can get our blood to boil. When a friend blames you for something that wasn’t your fault. You lose your job over something out of your control. People are gossiping about something that isn’t even true. Little by little, we develop anger in our hearts. It’s a valid response though, right? No one ever did something out of spite that they regret….
Starting in Genesis 37, the story of Joseph begins. Joseph, the favorite son, had dreams that seemed to show his brothers worshipping him. The brothers had grown to hate Joseph and wish him harm. They planned on killing him, but one of the brothers cautioned them of this desire. In spite, they sold him into slavery so they wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore. They lied to cover up their deed and it only seemed to bother one of the brothers.
Several years later, we will see a reunion of all of the brothers, and how this decision turned out to be Joseph’s dream. But I want to focus on the response the brothers had of selling their brother. It wasn’t enough to hate him in their hearts, nor was it enough to kill him. They earned a profit in the exchange for human life, and they lied to their father about the whole situation to cover it up. Hate escalated into this mess.
We might not be able to control our circumstances, and we certainly cannot control others, but we can control our outlook. It might not be fair; it might not be what we deserved; it might not even be warranted. But we can still choose our response. We don’t have to let hatred take root in our heart. We can choose to live in the light and respond with love.
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” 1 John 2:9-11
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18