Respond With Grace
I dislike group projects. There’s usually one member who lags behind yet expects as much credit as those who do all the work. I was on a team several years ago when two other teachers and I were taking continuing education classes. We decided to develop a job placement program for our graduating seniors. Upon completion of the assignment, we actually implemented the idea into our advanced classes. It was quite fulfilling to help our graduates find jobs in the business world. But only two of us did all of the work, from start to finish, while the other fellow merely limped along. He got his A and promptly dismissed himself from any further commitment. But his tune later changed when our idea was published in a teacher magazine. It was hard enough seeing his name listed right alongside ours, but to make matters worse he suddenly became our spokesman. He liked the notoriety and claimed recognition for himself, as if he had come up with the idea on his own. It took a lot of God’s grace not to challenge his arrogance. But my friend and I swallowed our pride and tried to do the right thing. Believe me, it wasn’t easy! Life isn’t always fair. Injustice abounds. But someone once said that life isn’t so much about our circumstances as much as how we respond to them. Joseph shows us how he responded with grace in much more difficult circumstances than we’ll probably ever encounter. Study these scriptures for an interesting turn in his story.
Read Genesis 42:7-8
1. What did Joseph do when his brothers bowed down to him?
Read Genesis 42:9-13
2. Of what did Joseph accuse his brothers and how did they reply?
Read Genesis 42:14-20
3. How did Joseph test his brothers?
4. Why do you think Joseph was so hard on them?
Read Genesis 42:21-22
5. Describe the disagreement among the brothers.
Read Galatians 6:7
6. How does this principle apply to Joseph’s brothers and their treatment of him?
Joseph could have had his brothers killed on the spot. He responded to them with God’s grace but wanted to make sure they had truly changed. The brothers feared they were about to reap what they had sown. They remembered their brother’s distress when he pleaded with them for his life. They remembered their lack of compassion not only toward Joseph but toward their father whose grief was inconsolable. Fear gripped their hearts as they realized their brother, Joseph, now had power over their lives. How the tables had turned! We will continue to marvel at how Joseph responded to injustice in future lessons. But for now, stop and think about how you can extend grace to those who don’t deserve it but truly need it.