From what was treated earlier we saw that the ten older brothers of Joseph hated him greatly. However, Joseph showed them kindness and Love. What a perfect practical example of God’s type of love (agape) – the true, boundless, and selfless love displayed by Joseph for His hateful family members for us to see and emulate in our age where true godly love is almost a thing of the past!
CREATED TO BE ONE LARGE FAMILY
God’s original plan when he made Adam and Eve was to be the first parents of all mankind so that all mankind would be of one lineage (one blood), one large universal family composed of smaller family units that relate as brothers, loving, helping, and caring for each other and living in love, peace, unity, and harmony “made of one blood all nations of men” Acts 17: 26. We all have the image and likeness of God, the same breath of God in our nostrils, are given the same blessings and charges in Genesis 1:28. We are each other’s brother and sister irrespective of race, the color of our skin, language, and religious beliefs. We are each other’s keeper and helper. Each of us is God’s means of rendering help and assistance to one another as the need arises. God’s salvation is also aimed at bringing humanity back together as one large family, Romans 12:5.
LACK OF LOVE FOR GOD AND FELLOW MAN IS OUR GREATEST PROBLEM
One of the things Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience (which is a sign of lack of love) to God’s commandment of not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17) caused man was the destruction of the perfect God/man relationship which led to the destruction of family love relationship and all other human relationships. As a result, all that godly true love which was supposed to foster a good relationship between God and fellowman for acts such as self-less love, humility, kindness, compassion, care, empathy, endurance, loyalty, and affection was destroyed as seen in Adam and Eve’s accusation and counter-accusation of each other when they stood before God in judgment in the garden of Eden, Genesis 3:12.
Things took a deeper downward plunge in their love relationship when they were driven from the Garden that God planted for them into the other part of the earth where Satan ruled. With time, as man remained under the rule of Satan that which remained in them of God’s spirituality, holiness, purity; love, wisdom and the doing of His will finally dulled off and was replaced with carnality, unrighteousness, selfishness, sinfulness, In its place are fake lust and other inordinate affection, selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, cruelty, hypocrisy, deceit, and gross disobedience and rebellion. These are not good for any relationship as seen in the stained relationship between Cain and Abel that resulted in Cain killing Abel his brother, Genesis 4:8-9.
The longer man lived under the rule of Satan, the more they become more hostile, ungrateful, deceitful, abusive, uncaring, rude, manipulative, selfish, proud, very annoying, cruel, wicked, insensitive and devilish. They like hurting others intentionally and their thoughts are evil continually, Genesis 6:5.
Sin has turned man against God, man against man, brother against brothers, sisters against sisters, husband against wives and wives against husbands, family members against each other, children against parents, servants against masters, neighbors against neighbors, and nations against nations. Man has stopped being humane and now carry out every form of inhuman activities against humanity.
There is so much unrest, terrorism, war, kidnapping, violence, conflict with many people displaced and turned refugees all over the world. If only humans can dwell in love among themselves there wouldn’t have been all these evil. If only those having these world goods are willing to share their goods with those who have not, poverty would have been alleviated from among humans. If only humans can stop revenging evil done to then, evil wouldn’t have become so rampant. If only we see each other as brothers, we wouldn’t discriminate against them and there wouldn’t have to be racism, classism, and tribalism. If only husbands and wives can love each other as expected of them and parents can love all their children equally there will be peace in every home. How can man solve these problems of man? IT IS ONLY LOVE THAT CAN SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS OF HUMANITY.
LOVE MAN’S GREATEST NEED
The Almighty and All-knowing God, Savior and redeemer of mankind who did all He did for the salvation of mankind out of His great Love (John 3:16) knows that if the redeemed man is to maintain and live his New life in Jesus Christ he must love God, and fellow humans as himself as He originally created them to be. Therefore, He spread His love (agape) abroad our hearts by His Spirit. He gave us commandments to back it up, Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:5. Our Lord Jesus categorically revealed that loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves are the greatest of all the commandments, Matthew 22:39. Our neighbors are the people (good/bad, the lovely/the unloving, those who love us and those who hate us) we are opportune to come across on our life’s journey on earth. The characters of love as seen in the Bible reveal it is all we need to foster a good relationship with our fellow humans; “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; it beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
When we consider all we are commanded to do in love such as: a) be rooted in love, Ephesians 3:17. b) dwell in love. c) do everything in love, 1 Corinthians 16:14. d) walk in love, Ephesians 5:2. e) teach people in love, 1 Timothy 1:5. e) correct in love. f) forgive others in love, Ephesians 4:32. g) serve with love, Galatians 5:13. h) speak the truth in love, Ephesians 4:15. i) forbearing one another in love, Ephesians 4:2. j) follow after love charity, 1 Corinthians, 14:1. k) put on charity, Colossians 3:10-14; undoubtedly Love is meant to be our lifestyle.
The Bible also contains how our love should be: a) our love must not be in words alone but also in deeds and truth, 1 John 3:18. b) our love for others must be without dissimulation – without pretense or hypocrisy, Hebrews 10:24. c) we must love with a pure heart- sincere, with no ulterior motive, 1 Peter 1:22. d) love as brothers, 1 Peter 3:8; Romans 12:9; unfeigned – genuine, 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Peter 1: 22 and fervent love – very strong and sincere love, 1 Peter 4:8-
THERE IS NO PLACE FOR HATE IN A CHRISTIAN LIFE
There is no denial of the fact that there are some people known and unknown that are our enemies, they hate us, talk ill of us, don’t see anything good in us neither do they wish us any good and wouldn’t hesitate to harm us if they have the opportunity to do so. Among them are; a) members of our families/households. b) our colleagues at school and the workplace. c) fellow worshipers, neighbors, and several others. d) There are even those we have no connections with whatsoever who are our enemies because of being friends to our enemies. e) some of those we call our friends. f) last but one the least is self-hatred.
To most of us, we believe the best way to deal with these enemies is to go even with them, by responding in same way and manner as they did to us; evil for evil, curse for curse, hate for hate, strife for strife and it has ended in more pains, tears, bitterness, defeat and hurt.
However, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave us the right way to respond as thus; “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5: 44- 45.
Apostle Paul encourages us on it saying;
“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with those who rejoice that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Recompense to no man evil for evil,. Provide things that are honest in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not your selves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 14-21.
This was how Joseph in our series so far, a man of like passion like us, who was born years before the giving of the Mosaic laws and long before our Lord Jesus was manifested in the flesh responded to his haters. All the characters Joseph displayed were a replica of the characters of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 4:7; Joseph suffered long, and was kind; He did not involve in envy, was humble, and behaved wisely. He was disciplined and well principled and selfless. He was a man of honesty and integrity. He was meek and gentle; his motives and actions are pure. He did hate sin and loved the truth; He persevered and endured in all things, believes all things, hoped in all things, Love was his lifestyle.
It is a pity that most people in Christendom in this generation have taken lightly Jesus’ commandment to the believers in Matthew 5:44. Unknown to many of us is the fact that when we repay evil for evil, we disobey God and thereby prevent Him from avenging us and fighting our enemies as He has promised to do in Exodus 14:14; Isaiah 49:25. Love is the only thing that moves God to action and makes Him fight for one. The truth is that no war has ever been won with hatred in one’s heart against the enemies instead love wins always. Love gives the heart strength, peace, and rest while bitterness weakens the body and makes it stoop low with worries and fear. Love shields our hearts from the attacks of the enemies. Love is the most potent weapon against the enemies, Ephesians 6: 10-11,16. Hating someone in your heart makes you a murderer, 1 John 3:15. Hate opens the door to Satan and everything evil, James 3:16. Hate makes one miserable as it makes one suspicious and afraid of others, Fear is what Satan uses to torment a lot of people. There is no fear in love. Perfect love cast out fear, 1 John 3:18. Hatred takes away one’s inner peace and joy. The increase of self-condemnation, loneliness, despondency, hopelessness, and depression and suicide by individuals are also linked to hatred in one’s heart. Love shields you from the enemies’ weapons. Hate puts one in darkness and opens ones up for devilish attacks, 1 John 2:11. He that loves not abides in death, 1 John 3:14. He that loves his brother abides in light 1 John 2:10
A lot of us waste our precious time and energy thinking of what to do to those who hate us instead of turning them over to God, to whom vengeance belongs, Romans 12: 19-21. Chose to dwell in love and observe how fear will flee away from your heart and watch how all those terrible dreams at night will disappear!
BE YE PERFECT
To dare to be a perfect child of God like Joseph one must love others the way he loved as Jesus recommended saying; “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you… that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?….and if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than other?….be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5: 44-48.
To do this demands one having great faith in God which enables the spirit of God which is love to indwell us and gives us the heart of God which makes us love God and live a consecrated life of love unto God. When we love God like the way he did with his soul, body, and spirit, our hearts would be filled with overflowing love which radiates/spreads to others – Joseph did not only believe in God, he had an intimate relationship with him – He loved God. This helped him fashion his life to be like him and doing everything that pleased him. This leads to selflessness, total obedience, and loyalty to God. Love for others is the true identification mark of a child of God, John 14:35. We are to follow His footsteps in loving.
One very important thing among others that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, His life, his ministry, taught us is about the love of God that brings salvation to all men and how to live and operate in His Love. For us to be perfect children of God as Jesus Christ we must walk in love as He walked, Ephesians 5:2. The love of God in our hearts makes us humane. It is what enables us to feel for others irrespective of color, tribe, or religion. The language of love is understood by all – the blind can feel/see it, the deaf can hear it and the dumb can express it. Love language transcends all languages, distances, barriers. Love comes in all colors and shades. Love does not discriminate against background, class or ethnicity. Love wins always and overcomes all obstacles. It is the most powerful yet the sweetest and most gentle, it melts iron molten hearts and softens stone hardened hearts and turns the wilderness devoured of love to an oasis of love. It can do all things and the greatest. The cord of love is unbreakable and its bond inseparable. It fosters true, harmonious relationships because it covers a multitude of sins. Peaceful co-existence with one another from different families, religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds can only be achieved in love because love does not discriminate against others; it has no limitations or borders.
To be like Joseph we must dare to love all the members of our biological family the way he did. We must learn to place great importance on our family, knowing full well that our family is a very important aspect of one’s life, our family is our root and stem. Nothing transcends family. Family is everything. Our family members are special gifts of God to us because none of us chose who our family members are. The choice of members of our family was God’s choice for us according to the purpose we are to serve on earth. They all have collective and individual important roles to play in our fulfilling our destinies such as to train, discipline, encourage, build us, and keep us on our toes. God is Perfect and True, therefore He cannot make a mistake with His choice of members of our families. Your family is the best for you so no matter what they do, always find a place in your heart to love and be kind to them. God knows how to remove those you don’t need and He knows when to take you away from among them as he did with Joseph. It may interest you to note that other notable men in the Bible such as Moses, King David were hated by members of their families too.
Many of the so-called Pastors have caused discord in many families for their selfish reasons, therefore, don’t allow such to happen to you. The love of God constrains us to love them. Joseph’s peaceful co-existence with his hateful family members and love response to all his brothers’ hatred and maltreatment to him are our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s recommended ways of responding to our enemies and those who hate us according to His teachings in Matthew 5: 44. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, lived such an exemplary life of loving all including His enemies, (who happened to be Jews as himself) those who crucified Him by praying to His Father saying, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”, Luke 23:34.
Lord Jesus Christ changed the world with love by dying for us while we were yet sinners and wants you and me to continue.
WHAT IT DEMANDS
The truth is that loving all people including our enemies as our Lord commanded does not come easy, it sometimes comes with heartaches, pains and hurts. However, we must obey and do so as true believers. It is in our own best interest. When one considers some of the charges we are given in the Bible to do in love such as a) be rooted in love, Ephesians 3:17. b) follow after love, 1 Corinthians 14:1. c) put on charity, Colossians 3:10-14. It is something that demands a personal, deliberate assent of the will. this implies it is something one has to willingly choose to do in obedience to God’s commandment just as God willingly chose to love us in Christ Jesus. It is something that needs to be sought and honestly acted out. To practice agape love is something that involves one’s totality, body, soul (feelings, emotions, thoughts, and will) and spirit and expressed in words, actions or deeds. It involves living and practicing it. We must practice love towards everyone first and foremost towards our family members. Love others and you will be amazed at what will happen as a result. As one extends oneself to love others it will enable one love for oneself to grow deeper, stronger, healthier and happier. Life becomes more beautiful.
LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH A HEART OF LOVE
If you are reading this post and you are wondering about the possibility of you having this kind of Father and son love relationship as described above; I want you to know that it is possible. God loves you; be you, black, white, colored, albino. He loves you be you rich, poor, male, female, educated, tall, short, disable or whatever. Jesus was given for you “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
Repent of all your sins and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I.