We might wish to think that our families are bulwarks of strength against the hostility of a cruel and heartless world. Ah, if only ’twere so. The sad reality of our existence is that families can harbor as much or even more conflict. Some of the worst damage to people’s bodies and souls is done by their own relatives.
“Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him” (Genesis 37:17,18). Jacobs’ family was rancid with favoritism, simmering resentments, and hatred. It is only God’s intervention that kept Joseph, the spoiled 11th son, from being killed by his brothers. Yes—that family—the preservers of the faith and ancestors of the Messiah.
Family members have a unique opportunity to hurt one another, but they can choose to see their homes as a place to begin in acting out Christ-like love and a Christ-like servant-spirit. How can we ever love our neighbors if we have not first mastered how to love our sisters and brothers?
Do any long-standing resentments, grudges, cruelties, failures, or misunderstandings spoil your family relationships? God spent a lot of time on Joseph and helped him grow up. Joseph in turn helped his brothers mature and repent of their horrible hatred. How can you be God’s instrument of healing in your family?