Someone said, “A single moment of misunderstanding is so poisonous, that it makes us forget the hundred lovable moments spent together within a minute. It is an irony that no matter how carefully we choose our words, we always end up being misunderstood. Have we not seen often, great friends of many years, turning suddenly into strangers due to a simple misunderstanding? Yes, it is true that the longest distance between two individuals is misunderstanding. Our thought for reflection this Wednesday morning is, “Our God definitely understands us and our predicament, even when others don’t.”
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him, all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had; We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it” (Genesis 37:5-7).
We know very well that the dreams that Joseph spoke of were not just stories concocted by him. Later on we come to know that those dreams were all from God and that they revealed what was going to happen in the life of Joseph in the future. Joseph should not have been faulted for having had the dreams yet the Bible says that he was seriously misunderstood by his brothers as one who was proud of himself. The misunderstanding created two more problems in the life of Joseph.
1. Misunderstanding resulted in hatred.
The siblings’ rivalry in Jacob’s family and the initial misunderstanding between Joseph and his brothers was primarily caused not by any words or acts of Joseph but by their father Jacob. “When his brothers saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 37:4). Thus Jacob became a victim of circumstances and a target of his brothers’ attacks due to no mistake of his own. Like Joseph, are we too, being misunderstood often by our family members, colleagues and friends, for no mistake of our own?
2. Misunderstanding resulted in jealousy.
We later find that the misunderstanding between Joseph and his brothers led to jealousy and deep animosity within Jacob’s family. When Joseph told his dream, his brothers interpreted it as indicating that Joseph would reign over them. The Bible says that his brothers rebuked him by saying, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said” (Genesis 27:8). Are we disturbed and troubled whenever we find others being jealous of us?
We do not find Joseph being in anyway disturbed by his brothers’ hatred or jealousy towards him. That was the reason why Joseph innocently told his father and his brothers of his second dream too (Genesis 37:10).
Let’s pray: “Dear Lord, you alone know how often my words and actions are being misunderstood by others. Though it is very hurting to see others misunderstanding me, I know that you alone understand me well. Give me the wisdom to speak and behave in ways that I may avoid being misunderstood. I need more of your grace and patience to bear the hatred, jealousy and misunderstandings of others like Jesus.
In Jesus’ name,... Amen!"