Almost every child Bible student knows the story of the coat of many colors that was given to Joseph. It was that coat that was deceitfully used by Joseph’s brothers to make Jacob think that Joseph had been killed by an animal. Those of us who are Bible students know that it is “the rest of the story” about Joseph that is so intriguing.
We have so much blame spread around today by those who feel they have had a bad deal in life. Many who believe they have been mistreated in life, especially as youth, become bitter, hateful, and prejudiced against all who have a more pleasant life.
Joseph is a great example for us all. How could one be treated much worse? He was hated by his brothers, which must have made life miserable. He was forced into slavery. He was imprisoned through false accusation.
But we never even read a hint of bitterness nor see a coarseness of heart against others. All of this happened while he was a boy and then a young man. It happened at the time that counselors tell us we have the least control over our emotions. We often excuse someone’s misconduct because of “how tough a life” he or she had.
Joseph shows us we can overcome emotional and physical adversity in our lives. We can choose to act with different emotions than anger, bitterness or self-pity. Joseph never acts as though he would steal, cheat or mistreat others because he had been so cruelly mistreated by the world.
Rather, every act and every word from Joseph depicts his respect for other human beings. Because he places God first in his considerations, he always acts as a willing servant to others even when he gets “the short end of the stick himself.”
Joseph shows us that respect for others and service to others go hand in hand. He respects Potiphar and Potiphar’s wife. He respects the prison keeper. He even shows respect and service to his hateful brothers when they come to him in need.
We can learn a great deal by contemplating how to better show respect for others in our own life.