February 21, 2024 - 8:00am

Lenten Meditation: February 21, 2024

Lenten Meditation: February 21, 2024

Daily Scripture Passage: Genesis 37: 25-36

When some Midianite traders passed by, his brothers drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. — Genesis 37:28

Oh, how our souls cry out in agony when we are betrayed by those closest to us...

Betrayal—for pieces of silver, no less—is one of the parallels between the stories of Joseph and Jesus: Joseph sold into slavery by his own brothers, Jesus handed over to temple authorities by a man Jesus himself chose as one of his spiritual family. There is a lesson in those betrayals: that a toxic combination of envy and lust—for money, power, even sexual satisfaction—can lead us to manipulate people and circumstances to gain personal advantage, and rid ourselves of troublesome competition.

We justify our behavior as somehow righting a wrong (“I deserve that promotion at work, not her”), redressing a personal injury (“My partner/husband/wife does not love me”), even performing a public service (“I can use my ill-gotten gains to help the less fortunate”). For those of us engaged in betrayal, Lent is a forceful reminder that we cannot excuse our actions at the expense of others. And for those of us suffering betrayal, we remember that the Bible tells us that what is meant for evil can be turned to good by God—but perhaps far in the future. In the moment, that knowledge may not blunt the pain of betrayal, but it does give us hope.

We can all be betrayers, and we can all suffer betrayal, yet our God stands ready to forgive and heal us, no matter what we have done or have suffered.

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