TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Genesis 37:12-36

Conversation and mealtime go together like biscuits and gravy; they’re just made for one another. Breaking from the day’s work, a group of brothers tending their flocks stopped to share a meal and discuss the topic of conversation for the day: “If we’re not going to kill our brother, then what?”

Jacob is anything but subtle, and Joseph is anything but humble when it comes to his favored place among twelve brothers. Jacob gives Joseph a coat of many colors, and the rest get a cold shoulder. Joseph, an active dreamer, tells his family about a dream where one day his brothers and family would all bow down to him. They don’t take it well. Scripture says his brothers “hated him even more” (Genesis 37:8).

Later when they see him coming from a distance, they want to kill him. His oldest brother Reuben stops that; instead they put him in a pit. Reuben leaves. The other ten sit down for lunch:
“Pass the bread.”
“Do we slit his throat?”
“Reuben said not to.”
“So then what?”
“Here come some slave traders, let’s sell him to them.”
“Good idea, more water please.”

Twenty years would pass by and Joseph would live out his “dreams” while his brothers live in their nightmares. When Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to find relief from the famine, they are aided by the one they had betrayed. In the course of his relief, you hear a refrain of their regret, “In truth, we are guilty concerning our brother…” (Genesis 42:21). No decision motivated out of jealousy or resentment breeds good, only guilt. Guilt is the fuel of depressed days, sorrowful sleep, and absent affections between those we’ve deceived and us. Guilt does not bless, it only burdens; it supplies no answers, only anguish.

Ten brothers waste too many years in guilt because they blame someone else for their feelings. One brother chooses to live wrapped in the assurance of his God and not riddled in the guilt of his conscience. Feasting on a lunch of revenge leaves only the aftertaste of guilt, which sits heavy on the heart.

Today, I will…consider the times when I made my decisions based out of anger and jealousy and needlessly carried guilt in my life. I will pray for God’s mercy to heal my heavy heart from the guilt and hold to His grace.