January 2

Joseph said to his brothers, “Do not quarrel along the way.” Genesis 45:24 

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Now that Christmas is over, the presents are all opened and enjoyed (or maybe taken to stores for exchanges), many families
 still have the effects of some disagreements as families gathered. People that are relatives don’t always get along with each other, especially with all the expectations that are a part of the Christmas celebration. Siblings may have spent part of the time arguing over who got the best present, or who got the most stuff. Worse, these disagreements just continue on over the months and years; no one wants to listen to or forgive the other one.

Bickering siblings are nothing new. Joseph certainly knew how his brothers commonly behaved. After all he was there in Egypt because they disliked him and wanted to get rid of him. Now, in spite of all, there he is with food and a good life ready and willing to help them.  He has forgiven them and he can respond not with anger but with help to save their lives in the current famine. He loads them up with food and clothing and money, and is sending them off on the journey back to their father. But he knows they are liable to start arguing as soon as they are out of sight. So he tells them, none of that quarreling along the way. No wasting time with their mutual accusations and recriminations about what happened in the past. He wants them to travel quickly back to Canaan, get their father and the rest of the family, and return to Egypt where they will have enough to eat and where the whole family can be reunited.

We as Christians are all part of one big family. Just like Joseph’s brothers, we can be prone to quarreling as we go along our way. Sometimes these disagreements turn into long standing grudges and we wish that other person would just go away, much like happened to Joseph’s brothers. They acted on their feelings; we are admonished not to do so.  Paul tells us to bear with one another, and not just complain. We are probably not going to avoid all quarrels, but when there are disagreements, we are to bear with the other person, to listen and dialogue. If there is a wrong, we are to forgive as we are forgiven by God. As the chosen people of God we are to have compassion, kindness, humility, gentlenesss and patience in our dealings with others. (Verse 12). 

Holy God and Savior, we confess that we often quarrel with others and hold grudges. It is so difficult at times to forgive each other. Please be with us during these times to spread your grace and peace and understanding to each other. Lead us to follow in your way of acceptance and forgiveness. Help us to listen to others, not only to their words but also to their hearts, fears, and hopes. Then, help us show others the love and forgiveness you have first shown us. In Jesus’ name, Amen 

Chris Gabel