Why do we hurt the ones we love? Maybe we just don't realize what we are doing. I think you can see that in the story of Joseph. Jacob had several sons but his favorite was Joseph (Genesis 37:3). He spoiled the boy with unique gifts. Joseph got preferential treatment. Even as the younger child he had status over his older brothers. When God revealed the boy would rise to the top of the family, Jacob beamed.
But his brothers brooded.
You see all the “special” treatment Joseph received caused his brothers to hate him. They hated he tattled on them. They hated his dreams. They hated he thought he was better than them. They hated him so much that when they had the chance they almost killed him and they did sell him off as a slave. That’s a lot of hate.
I don’t believe Joseph was a bad person in all this but let’s be honest, I’m sure he didn’t help the situation. I think Joseph was for the most part clueless about his brother’s feelings. That’s why he so quick to give a bad report, so eager to relay his dreams of being bowed down too; he didn't even realize how it might feel to those that didn't have his privilege. That is probably why his brother switched where they were pasturing, just so that could ditch their annoying brother! I wonder if the first time it even occurred to him how much his brothers hated him was when he stared up at them from the pit. He had been lifted up too high all those years to notice.
I don’t blame Joseph for this however. He is just a kid. That’s how he was raised. The blame falls at the foot of his father for not loving him enough. We might be tempted to say he loved him to much but that’s not the truth. True love doesn’t raise a child unprepared for how people feel and react. True love doesn’t put a child on a pedestal that will result in an inevitable crash. True love doesn’t foster a situation that will cause others to loath him because he makes them feel inferior.
I might blame Jacob, but can’t say I don’t understand why he made this mistake. Every parent has a blind spot in regard to their kids. We want them to have everything, to never have to suffer, to feel like they are the best and brightest, to solve all their problems and make the world perfect for them. That however might just be the worst thing for them.
Humbling is hard.
Joseph would end up getting knocked down a lot in his life after he is sold away. Maybe his heavenly father was teaching some lesson his earthy father had missed. The world is full of sinful people that will lie, scheme and cheat you even when you do nothing wrong. Life is tough. It is hard. It is unfair. And it is totally unimpressed with who you think you are.
If we cheat our children out of the tough lesson early on, we just make harder for them to deal with it the future. Too many young people today have been so pampered growing up they are not prepared for real life. When they find themselves in the pit that life will eventually throw them into, they may never pull themselves out. They quit since they never learned to overcome bad times, since they never seen them. That quit can keep them from success, from happiness and maybe even from heaven.
As hard as it is to watch them hurt now, it’s harder to lose them forever.
Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death.