“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12)
When Joseph’s brothers sowed the seeds of hatred in their hearts, they found fertile soil. Watered with jealousy and cultivated in selfishness, these seeds bore a deadly, deceitful fruit. In Genesis 37, as Joseph appeared on the horizon, searching for his brothers, his very appearance aroused their fury, and they began to plot how to kill him.
As soon as Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of his robe and threw him into a deep pit with no food or water. There was no possibility of him eating or drinking; only dehydration, starvation, and death awaited him. But his brothers immediately questioned their decision: “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?” (Gen. 37:26). Instead, they agreed to “sell him to the Ishmaelites … for twenty shekels of silver” (37:27–28) ―just a couple of shekels for each brother. It was horrible, ill-gotten gain, the kind of money that rots through your pocket.
When we find false refuge in lies, it destroys our own lives and trips up countless others in the process.
We see in Joseph’s brothers this universal truth: hatred doesn’t need a reason. All it needs is a corner in a selfish heart—something we all naturally possess—and from it will flow fury, envy, greed, and vengeance.
It should be no surprise to us that these brothers returned to their father full of hypocrisy and deception, which they maintained for many years. Hatred is often accompanied by hypocrisy, duplicity, and lies. Sin begets sin. When we transgress, we try to hide our sin with more sin. And when we find false refuge in lies, it destroys our own lives and trips up countless others in the process.
Every day, we ought to examine our lives to see if any sort of hatred has caused us to begin weaving a web of sins. Then, we must repent of it, be done with it, and ask for God’s loving hand to cover our offenses and liberate us from all kinds of deceit. There is no pit deep enough, there is no cistern wide enough, there is nothing that we can find to hide our sin from the eye of an all-seeing God. And so there’s only one way to handle sin: come clean to the only one who can truly remove its stain.