August 27, 2006

Words That Hurt

Genesis 37:1-11

They hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Genesis 37:8


The truth can hurt. As we move into the Bible's stories about Joseph, we meet a dreamer who is also much loved by his father, Jacob. That lopsided love and the words of Joseph tainted the way his brothers saw him. Joseph's brothers hated him for their father's favoritism, Joseph's dreams, and what Joseph had said.

Words can hurt. On this Sunday many of us will hear a message from God, and it may hit a little close to home. We may begin to protest or silently tune out the message. We may join Jacob's brothers who became deaf to the truth before them.

Jacob's brothers apparently didn't ask about the truth of Joseph's dreams. Though the truth may have hurt, instead of dealing with the truth, they became opposed to Joseph and the truth that God had revealed.

Joseph probably should have been more considerate in the way he told this truth. And Jacob wasn't a model of consistent love. Still, one factor stood out. Joseph's brothers didn't want to hear any more about his dreams. Instead they planned to get rid of him, and they sold him into slavery. Some people go a long way to remove painful words and the persons who bring them.

Before you dismiss words that hurt, be willing to ask what Joseph's brothers did not: "Is this true? What is God trying to tell me?"

Father God, open our ears so that we may hear. Open our hearts to receive. Open our eyes to see your truth. In the name of the way, the truth, and the life we pray. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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