What Goes Around Comes Around

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "I will go to my grave mourning for my son," he would say, and then he would weep.

Genesis 37:35

It's easy to imagine how Joseph, the spoiled child whom his father loved most of all, might have had dreams of his own greatness. And it isn't hard to see why, in his youthful zeal, he even told his brothers about his dreams. We can understand why they resented Joseph and didn't treat him kindly (v. 4).

But their willingness to kill their own brother or even to sell him into slavery reveals the extent to which hatred had infected their hearts. Moreover, it's implied that they were filled with bitterness, not only toward Joseph, but also toward their father. After all, they deceived their father, allowing him to think that Joseph had been killed. Then, when Jacob was grieving, they attempted to comfort him. How diabolically two-faced! Each of the brothers, as they made attempts to ease their father's pain, knew very well that the source of his grief was a fiction. So even their apparent attempts at comfort were filled with deception. They were willing to let their father writhe in agony. How tragic!

And how ironic! Jacob, after all, deceived his own father, taking advantage of Isaac's old age to fool him into giving the blessing that belonged to Esau to Jacob himself. Had Jacob's sons heard the story of how their father treated his father? Were they, to some extent, given permission to deceive him about Joseph because of how he had deceived his own father?

Jacob's case is a sad example of the truth that children learn more from how their parents live than from what they profess. It challenges those of us who are parents, or who influence children as uncles, aunts, teachers, pastors, grandparents, etc., to consider what we are teaching children through how we live.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: If children were to imitate your example, would this be good or bad? Could you truthfully say to the children in your life as the Apostle Paul once said to the Corinthians, "Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to examine my own behavior in the light of your truth and by the guidance of your Spirit. Show me how my behavior is influencing my own children. Help me to live in such a way that my children are growing in faithfulness to you. By your grace, may my words and deeds be congruent, whether I'm at home, or at work, or in public, or in private. May I live as salt and light in every arena of life. Amen.