Date: Tuesday, June 10
Scripture: Genesis 37:12-36
Verse: The brothers said to each other, “Here comes the big dreamer. Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!” (Genesis 37:19-20)
In conversation the other day a friend shared this revelation, “Imagine how different life would be if when we encountered people around us we said to ourselves, ‘Jesus loves that person as much as he loves me.’” What an amazing thought. The difficult stranger in Walmart, the distracted driver in front of us, the annoying co-worker, the frustrating family member, the beggar on the corner, the crazy neighbor who doesn’t seem to like anybody, and whoever else you can think of, would no longer be just a nuisance, but would be seen by us as someone of value. Every person is one to whom we can minister, and through whom God might minister to us. Jesus tells us to view people this way — what you did or did not do, you did also to me (Matthew 25:40, 45). The author of Hebrews tells us when we meet strangers we might be entertaining angels without know it (Hebrews 13:2). What if we saw people differently?
Joseph was an irritating little brother, to put it mildly. We only get a couple of examples in the scripture, but you get the sense that he was difficult 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. His father set him up as the favored one by giving him that “technicolor dreamcoat,” or long robe as the CEB translates it. Then he gets dreams that tell him he will one day be a leader. As we said yesterday, he has been abusing his gift, and his brothers don’t want to deal with him anymore. Selling him into slavery is quite extreme, but I can understand why they might want rid of him.
All of us deal with difficult people in our lives. We don’t plot to kill them, nor do we sell them into slavery, but getting away is often the desired outcome. Might God want us to do something else? Oftentimes we simply need to get to know the other better and to recognize them as a one whom God loves, to build some empathy for them. We’re not all that different. What drove Joseph to brag, is the same ego that caused his brothers to want to be rid of him. Imagine what they could have done together, had they focused their minds on God rather than themselves in comparison to one another.
Prayer: Teach me, Lord Jesus, to be like neither Joseph nor his brothers. When dealing with difficult people, keep me ever focused on you. Amen.
Action: Experiment by saying to yourself, “there is a child of God,” whenever you encounter someone in the day ahead.
Respond: Share any tricks you have for dealing with difficult people.
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