Acknowledge what you hear or see?

[Joseph told his brothers] “You planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good.” Genesis 50:19

CamelTo become a Spiritual Care Volunteer at my local hospital, I went through orientation on how to relate to patients. A scenario of how to acknowledge a patient’s pain might go like this:

Patient with a long face: My doctor never comes to check on me until after 8:00 at night … then I can’t get to sleep.”
Me pausing to think how to respond: I’m sorry to hear you are aren’t getting enough rest and that you are disappointed the doctor can’t see you earlier in the day.
Patient still a little teary: Thank you.
Me with a smile: I’ll share your discomfort and concern with someone who can help you. I hope you’ll be more rested the next time I stop by.

In the last chapter of Genesis, the saga of Joseph and his brothers continues:
Brothers talking among themselves after their father died: What if Joseph is carrying a grudge and decides to pay us back for all the wrong we did him? (vs. 15) Together they made up a story and wrote Joseph a letter: Dear Joseph, Father said on his deathbed, ‘Forgive your brothers’ sin—all that wrongdoing. They did treat you very badly. Will you do it? (vs. 16) Joseph read the letter and weeps.

The brothers go to see Joseph and throw themselves down on the ground near his feet:
Brothers add to the drama by saying: We’ll be your slaves! Joseph speaking heart-to-heart: Hey, bros, no big deal. I’m not God. I’ll give you a clean slate and I’ll gladly take care of you and your kids! (paraphrased vs. 19)

Nowhere in the story of Jacob and his devious sons did I hear: “We can tell how angry you are and how much pain you’ve suffered.”

Dear God, thank you for teaching the lesson of forgiveness through the story of Jacob and his sons. Amen.

About lindagillis

I am a retired church office servant, a writer, speaker for conferences, events, and retreats, and advocate for those who work in the church office. I began writing seriously after winning the 2006 Guideposts Writer's Workshop and being published in "Guideposts" and "Angels on Earth" magazines. I have self-published two book, "The Donut Theory--Meditation and Inspiration for the Church Office" and "Humble Beginnings--Daily Meditation Moments". My other passion is family and traveling to visit family and friends.
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