Favoritism and its consequences
Today’s verses give us some more information about the relationships within Joseph’s family. We read how father Jacob (also called Israel) loved Joseph more than his other sons. In a way, this is understandable from earlier stories: Joseph was the son of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel and was born after years of infertility. That made him particularly special to Jacob. But it was wrong for him to treat Joseph better than his other children, for example by giving him a special robe. We see how destructive this favoritism was for the relationship between Joseph and his brothers. They were jealous and started to hate him. And that would have dramatic consequences… Just as Jacob had experienced it in his own youth, when the favoritism of Isaac and Rebekah affected the relationship between their twin sons.
Feeling left out, being less loved than your siblings, can hurt badly. And this hurt and pain can easily lead to bitterness and even hatred within the family. It’s the responsibility of parents not to play favorites! Their responsibility is to love all their children equally, even if those children are very different and the parents might naturally like one more than the other.
If we are in the role of Jacob’s brothers, being less loved than our sibling(s) or others around us, we should fight the hatred within us. Jesus knows how painful this situation can be. “He was despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3). Do not let your heart be consumed by jealousy and bitterness. Turn to Jesus for healing and comfort instead!