Genesis 44:34Back in Genesis 37, when Joseph's brothers plotted to kill him, Judah suggested an alternative plan. Rather than murdering their brother, he suggested that they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites as a slave. Thus Judah helped to spare Joseph's life. Nevertheless, he conspired with his brothers to deceive their father, Jacob, who was led to believe Joseph had been killed.
Although Judah never told his father the truth of what had happened to Joseph, years later he had greater compassion for his father. Thus when Joseph threatened to take his brother Benjamin as a slave, Judah appealed to Joseph for mercy. He knew how much his father would suffer if Benjamin were seized, and he had compassion for his father. The hardheartedness that allowed him to deceive his father about Joseph had been softened over the years. The hint of compassion we see in Genesis 37 had grown in Judah's heart.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you experienced a similar growth of compassion in your own life? What helps you to be a more compassionate person?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I read this story of Judah, I'm struck by the change in his heart. Where he once was willing to inflict great pain upon his father, Judah came to a place of deeper compassion.
Help me, Lord, to be a person of compassion. May my heart be touched by the pain of people in my life: my family, my colleagues, my neighbors, even those whose suffering I read about on the news. Help me to open my heart to those who hurt, so that I might be a channel of your healing and hope. Amen.