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Genesis 37:2–8 ‘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.’ (v4)

Joseph’s life story is one of spiritual formation, and we will look at it this week. It starts with his brothers’ jealousy. They are fed up that Joseph is their dad’s favourite (a challenge for all parents). His dreams suggesting he has greater authority than them only deepens their resentment. Jealousy is a complicated emotional state breeding suspicion, anger and insecurity. It affects us all, from romance to family, and it’s never a good idea to suppress real emotions. Best treat them as signals that issues must be faced and addressed.

Ignoring our emotions leads to hatred and a desire to destroy the source of our jealousy. Hence Joseph’s brothers’ feelings and actions. Jesus experienced the jealousy of the religious leaders of His day. They carefully framed their reasons for resisting Him, and hostility was the fruit born from His credible threat to their position. Taking Joseph’s dream-telling as nothing more than his innocent description, it’s clear that in all human relationships our mode of communication counts.

We have the ability to engage or lose our listener. It is important to understand our own motives for saying what we say, and refuse to exaggerate or promote ourselves. Our society is suffering from an epidemic of self-actualisation that borders on the threshold of narcissism, a search for recognition and need for admiration. Characteristics we never see in Jesus. Joseph was to learn that God alone was capable of developing him, and he was not required to manage his own self-promotion campaign or seek success.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Prov. 14:25–35; 27:1–11; 1 Cor. 3:1–17; James 4:1–12.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: We all struggle with emotions driving our decisions, and this can become unhealthy.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I pay attention to my feelings and make them known to You and others whom I trust, those who can help me. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.