“So now, please let your servant remain as my lord’s slave instead of the boy. As for the boy, let him go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father’s pain.”
“Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.”
2 Corinthians 6:3
“We do not give anyone an occasion for taking an offense in anything, so that no fault may be found with our ministry.”
What a beautiful picture this is of selflessness. Although Judah had spared his brother’s life before by suggesting they sell Joseph into slavery rather than killing him, Judah had finally seen that his former jealousy hurt others. He had robbed his father of a son and was now willing to take the place of another brother, rather than see his father suffer anymore.
Jealousy is an ugly thing. Striving for favor instead of being content with what God has provided is prideful. Condemning others as if we hold the one correct view is sinful, yet we do this even in the body of Christ. Why? Self preservation. Defending self when we have been unfairly judged is understandable, but is it really the highest goal? I know, I know. More death to self. Ugh. I feel it, too.
Don’t worry – dying to self does not mean we do not matter. Biblically, we are to be concerned about our own lives, as well, but not myopically focused on self alone. Deference hurts, especially when you have been wronged, but ultimately not one of us is always in the right. Seeking God’s glory in the matter is paramount and helps to clear up our vision.
As we all want to have people believe the best in us, so must we extend this grace. The church is a place where people should not be condemned for being imperfect, for we would all be condemned then. As Christians, we cannot think that we are better than our fellow brother or sister. No, we are all in the trenches side by side, working out character and sharing the Gospel. Instead, humility and grace lived out and generously bestowed is demonstrated by loving one another in the face of rejection and hurt. God help us to do so.
This weary world always has some new drama to unfold; someone who is not happy with you, or someone wanting “our” position. But when we see everything we have as not ours in the first place, we have no need to defend self or hang onto anything. Since we are hidden in Christ, He is our Defender and ultimately the harm others do to us is not to us at all.
Lord, help us to seek the best for others and favor them above ourselves. May we be sensitive about Your Name being glorified by how we live and not as sensitive about ours. Everything You have given us to do is about You.