Reigning In The Need To Confront

And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Genesis 43:27-30

Joseph planned it all out. He tested his brothers, temporarily incarcerated Simeon, sent them back to Canaan to return to Egypt with Benjamin, and all the while, none of them knew who he was. The next phase was more personal and more difficult to play out without disclosing his own identity. How would he serve them a meal, see Benjamin, and then talk of their father without his heart giving way? Years of pent-up grief and homesickness bubbled at the surface, begging for escape. The only recourse was to excuse himself to re-group in private. He kept them waiting while he wept in the next room.

Knowing when to confront can be tricky. When emotions are strong, whether grief, anger, or frustration, it’s hard to reign them in, to defer to express them when the time is better. I don’t believe I have the restraint to keep them in check.

The brothers did need to see Joseph’s tears. Benjamin did need to hear the lament of his older brother for all the lost years they had experienced. Whether or not Joseph should share his heart was not the question. It was when he should do it.

Navigating relationships where there has been much hurt is complicated. Often, I need to reign in everything I want to say until considerable time has passed. Trust may have been broken. Immaturity may exist, and because of that, there is no foundation for honest sharing. Remorse may also be missing, so any tears would be wasted. There are many reasons for stepping back to regroup in private but finding the strength to do it is difficult. I must restrain my emotions in one setting so that I can let them out in my private space.

Oh, but I am not alone there. God is with me. Until there is safety with those who have hurt me, I can pour out my heart to the only One who can receive everything I long to say. For any of you who realize at this very moment that the emotional exchange you’ve been rehearsing is ill-timed, know that I am praying for you today. What you thought you needed to say today to help you feel better must be deferred.

Lord, pour out the grace my friend needs right now to step back and be still. Woo them to come to You instead and assure them that you will receive them just as they are. Amen

Published by

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s