When It’s Safe To Show My Heart

Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Genesis 45:1-2

Joseph tested his brothers severely. It might have appeared that he had no mercy when he kept Simeon back, then imprisoned him, and gave the remaining brothers the stiff terms of his release. Joseph’s heart was unreadable, safely concealed, until such time as the nature of their hearts would be revealed. Once they showed the agony of true remorse, his heart would be accessible. He would weep so loudly that the sound of it would permeate the grounds of his vast residence.

What is my response to a sincere apology? If I’ve been in a relationship that turned treacherous, one that required that I prudently step back for time, it might have appeared to the other person that my heart was cold. But, in fact, I was praying for us both. I was praying that their hardened heart would eventually soften because of the conviction of the Spirit, and I was also praying that mine would not become hardened because of unforgiveness. The only reason Joseph was able to handle his brothers with such wisdom was because he had many thousands of hours alone with God.  As a Hebrew, he lived as an outsider among the Egyptians. Loneliness was God’s gift in disguise, the perfect training ground for impartial leadership.

Who has offered what appears to be a sincere apology? If God shows me that true remorse is present, will I keep my heart imprisoned in my tower of self-protection? Or, like Joseph, will I be willing to pour out the tears that have been hidden?  Offering my heart is a beautiful response, but only prudent when pride has been put aside.

The story of Joseph offers me wise counsel in matters of the heart. He, like Jesus, had vast emotional capacities. He had many faces as he related to others. There were moments when he would have been called stoic, but underneath was a well of tears that revealed a broken heart.

There’s a time and a season for everything. There’s a time to conceal and a time to reveal. I must be careful that I don’t live a life of concealment; ever protecting a heart that has been hurt one too many times. I also must be careful that I don’t allow anyone, and everyone, access to every thought and emotion. Real maturity is knowing what Jesus would do amid complicated and ever shifting relationships.

Without instruction of whispers from You, I’m chaff in the wind and continual prey. Amen

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