“Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.”
– Genesis 37: 3-4
You know that person that gets under your skin. That rubs you raw. Makes your blood pressure spike and you wonder, “Am I going to have a stroke?” Yep, that’s the one. Well, I have one. Two, sometimes. Alright, let’s just say three … ahem, moving on! There have been times I’ve wanted to revert back to Bible times and have uproar like Jesus did in the temple. I would have loved to throw a few tables myself. Clearly Jesus had the right, and with good reason…mine would have been just because I was ticked off or hurt. So instead of throwing tables, I threw a few frustrated words that oh so easily spilled out from my not so holy mouth. I held a grudge. I struggled to forgive. We as parents have a great responsibility to model how we deal with these people in our lives. When we read about Jacob’s sons we see so much anger, resentment and jealousy. Hmmm, does that sound familiar? Isn’t that exactly what Jacob, Rachel and Leah went through? Instead of showing their children the righteous way to respond, they displayed the sinful one that led to sad and bitter consequences among all the children, and how that hatred grew so much they ended up selling Joseph into slavery. I had to stop and ask myself: What example are you giving your children? What words are they overhearing you say? Ouch. In 1 John 2: 10-11 it says, “Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” Does this mean we are to like everyone? No. But it’s about our attitude. It’s how we handle these people and the situations that arise around them. My son handed me a piece of humble pie a couple years ago. Jarrett came home so upset because a boy in his class had been so mean to him. In fact, he cried for an hour that night in bed. The next week was his birthday party at school and I made cupcakes with each of the students’ names on them. In my dislike over this child that had hurt my son’s feelings, I put his name on the worst and smallest cupcake – yep! I was deliberately mean to a seven-year-old. Not my finest moment! At the party, they played a game and Jarrett could pick someone to come up front with him (huge honor to a 2nd grader to be picked). You want to know who he picked? Yep, the kid that had been so mean to him. In my darkness of wanting to stick it to this kid and give him a crappy cupcake, it had blinded me to loving on this kid instead. Maybe he needed a word of encouragement or just a smile or maybe the biggest and best cupcake I made. We can never control how people will react, what people will say, what people will do – but we can always control the way we react, the words we say and what we do!! Do you have an opportunity to bring healing to a relationship? Forgiveness? Let God work through you so you are able to walk in the light and not be blinded by the darkness.
Heavenly Father, you know the people in my life that cause strife in my heart. As I go through training and disciplining my children, do the same for me through these individuals. Mold me to speak only kindness, work on my heart to forgive - even if it’s not asked for or deserved. Guide me to pray for these people and love on them through You and with your strength. Amen.