“And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.”
A sad story is discovered in the verse above. It says about the brethren of Joseph that “they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” We know from the previous verses that Joseph was their half-brother; nevertheless, he was still their brother. He was their blood, and he was their immediate family member; yet, because of their pride, these men chose not to get along with Joseph and became antagonistic towards him and all that God had for him.
How sad that these brethren wasted all these years in bitterness and anger instead of finding a way to get along. How sad that these men let their differences lead to an antagonistic relationship, which eventually led to their plot to have Joseph destroyed. Had they known that God had something special for Joseph, I imagine they would have laid their differences aside to have a positive part in his life; instead, their antagonistic spirit led them to waste the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with their brother.
This story is indicative of many families and friends. For many, what started out to be a good friendship has ended with an antagonistic spirit and bad relationship with wasted energies on trying to find fault so that the antagonistic spirit can be justified. My friend, I look at this story of Joseph and his brothers, and I see that antagonism is a choice. You don’t have to have an antagonistic spirit towards others; you can choose to get along. A couple of observations from this story can help you to end antagonistic relationships.
First, you have one life to live; don’t waste it with an antagonistic spirit. Why would you want to be antagonistic towards family and friends? You only have one life to live, and one day you may want to get along with them, but it could be too late. Life is too short to waste on being antagonistic towards others. You can enjoy your life much better if you choose to stop being antagonistic towards those whom you deem to be mistreating and disrespecting who you are.
Second, an antagonistic spirit is a choice. These brothers chose to be antagonistic towards Joseph. Likewise, you are the one who chooses to be antagonistic towards those with whom you can’t get along. Stop blaming your antagonism on what they are doing and realize that you are the one who chooses to be antagonistic. You can get along with anyone if you choose. Nobody makes you antagonistic but you. You can go through life destroying relationships because of an antagonistic spirit, or you can choose to get along and overlook the missteps of those who wrong you.
Third, an antagonistic spirit is the result of selfish living. The only reason these brothers were antagonistic towards Joseph is because they didn’t like that his dreams were about them serving him. If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that the reason you can’t get along with someone is because of how you perceive they are treating you. Great relationships are built on selfless living. You won’t have great relationships with others if you are trying to make everyone fit into your box. You are going to have to become selfless and love them where they are and like they are if you want to build great relationships. Be determined to get along and not to allow an antagonistic spirit to keep you from enjoying those people whom God has placed in your life.