Genesis 37:17b-22

When anger is the driving force in my decision-making, my capacity for wise discernment recedes. I let go of the wider perspective. I can’t permit myself to see events, persons, and circumstances from another angle, much less a transformative one. In anger, tight knuckles grip the steering wheel of my thinking, and I floor my mental accelerator without checking for blind spots or alternative routes . 

With their spirit of envy and resentment, Joseph’s brothers have distanced themselves mentally and emotionally from Jacob’s home. Now they find themselves physically separated from their father as well, hastily scheming to erase Joseph from their ancestry. They don’t see how alienated they are from their father’s household—or from God.

What strikes me most about this section of the story is how hurriedly the narrative moves. There’s no mention of the brothers taking time to slow down, try breathing techniques, return to their better natures, cry out to God, or remember their core convictions. There’s only rushed opportunism. The only mention of regret comes from Reuben, who advocates for abandoning Joseph instead of choosing his certain death—which doesn’t seem much better. 

Is God inviting me through this story to reflect on how my own obsessive, unhealthy emotions can override my ability to see reality fully and honestly? This passage definitely reminds me to use silence and contemplation to cultivate my inner life. Those practices expand my thinking and lead me to be more inclusive and accepting, especially when life doesn’t go my way.


When have strong emotions shaped my experiences? When my emotions take control, what do I need to pray?


God, all that I am is yours, all of my thinking and my feelings. May your love and grace shape my life and my days. Amen.

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