Joseph’s father said, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me… [when his brothers] saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him” (Genesis 37:14 and 18).
That seems strange, doesn’t it? They see their youngest brother coming and say, “Let’s kill him.” This, however, was not a spur of the moment thing. In fact, his brothers were mad at and jealous of Joseph for a long time, because he was their father’s favourite. Genesis 37:4 states that, “They [his brothers] hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.”
On top of that, Joseph had some dreams that suggested that he was going to rule over his brothers one day. As you can imagine, telling his brothers about those dreams did not help his popularity. Joseph’s brothers thought about getting rid of him long before they took any action.
So why am I telling you this story? Simply because sin always works that way.
Sin is always the outcome of what we have allowed ourselves to think about. That is why we have passages like this: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:5 to 10).
If we harbour bad thoughts and feelings, they will grow until they come out in some regrettable action. In fact, those emotions will take up so much room in our lives that they will start to crowd out everything else. Things like peace, joy, love and hope have no place in us if we do not continually weed out the bad stuff first.
So maybe it is time to give up your grudges. Get rid of your list of hurts. Let go of jealously, worry, envy, anger, disappointment and guilt. Toss those things before they get a foothold in your life and ruin everything else.
Sin always comes from paths that we have walked a thousand times in our minds. Maybe it is time to walk a new path.