Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Joseph’s Brothers…Over and Over

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A few nights back while the grandkids were visiting, we did a fun family Bible time that involved watching, in intervals throughout the day, an old Shirley Temple movie called “The Little Colonel”. Set in the immediate post-antebellum South, and produced in the 1930s, I’m sure it wasn’t politically correct. But it gave us a good chance to discuss several topics that are very politically and morally infused, right now in our country. 

At night, we discussed several scenes from the movie, and then I would ask the question “Who can you think of, in the Bible, who did this, like the grandfather in the movie?”…or…”Can you remember a time, in the Word, where somebody lied because he was selfish, like the bad guys in the movie?“ If you came up with a good answer, you got to throw the velcro ball at the target for points and a prize for the winner. 

SO, first there was a person in the movie who did not treat the brown people in the movie with respect. “Who, in the Bible, can you think of who treated some person badly because he thought that person was just not as good or important as he was? Maybe you can even think of someone who was treated badly as a slave…” 

Ezra’s response was “Joseph’s brothers…they sold him as a slave. They didn’t care at all about what was going to happen to him. They were selfish.” He got to throw the ball. I think Colleyanna said that the Prodigal Son was like that. She got a throw, too.

We moved on. There was someone in the movie who had a very bad temper. “Can you think of someone in the Bible who showed a very bad temper?”

Again, Ezra said, “Joseph’s brothers got very mad at him because they were so jealous and they threw him in the pit!” He was right. Genesis 37:4 says they could not even speak peaceably with him. 

Colleyanna’s answers are harder for me to remember because they were not quite so repetitive, but I think here she commented about how angry Peter was when he shouted “I do not even know the man!”

Next, in our movie, there were some swindlers who blasted gold into a piece of rock, showed it to an unsuspecting “customer” and took him to the cleaners. He paid a lot of money for land that had no gold at all.  “Do you remember anyone in the Bible who tricked someone into thinking something was true?”

“Oh yes.” By now Ezra had a big grin on his face. “Joseph’s brothers showed Jacob the coat with the blood to make him think something that wasn’t true.” More points on the board once again. Colleyanna remembered about how Potiphar’s wife showed Potiphar a coat and lied to him about the good servant Joseph. Sometimes we had to get her started and then she’d tell us the story.

Next, I reminded the kids about the lady in the movie who, even though she was begged, refused to come to the aid of a desperate fellow human being, simply because of the race of the one who needed help. In this case, it was a brown person who refused to rescue a white neighbor. I asked them if they knew of anyone in the Bible who refused to help someone. “Joseph’s brothers could have helped Joseph and they could have helped their daddy, but,…no. They just let them suffer.” I think Colleyanna thought about the man who built the bigger barns from Luke 12 or the priest and the Levite, who passed by on the other side, in the parable of the good Samaritan from Luke 10. Ezra was pretty proud of his lazy little self. They threw the ball  at the bullseye again.

Finally, the grandfather in our story softened his heart. He changed his mind. “Who can you think of who softened his heart in the end and repented?” Well, first Ezra had to clarify that the grandfather just MOSTLY softened his heart. “There was still one spot of ‘badness’ in there,” (which was true, the be exactly precise)….”But,” with great pomp he answered “Joseph’s brothers, of course. When they went to Egypt, they repented, except for one or two little bad spots.” He was right again and, by this time, we were all laughing because he had perceived pretty much the whole movie as being a biblical allegory of the last half of Genesis. (Colleyanna said “Jonah”, at this point, I think. He did repent near the end of the story.)

Parents, please don’t let your kids grow up without a great familiarity with the details of Joseph’s Genesis story. There are just so many wonderful life lessons there. There’s sin and redemption, there’s theft and restitution, there’s integrity and reward…there’s just so much that you can apply throughout their active days and in their childish attitudes (and in mine). There’s just so much. If you need help for Joseph and Family Bible time, there’s a guide that starts here: (Then just follow the blog.)

And have a lot of fun if you have opposite-personality grandkids. Colleyanna’s so random. Ezra is so “one-track.” Once on a track, he can’t let it go. Hope he’s that way on the big, big track that matters. And I hope he keeps laughing a lot on the way. 

And, by the way, they were both more on-target with answers than with that little velcro ball, but they LOVED throwing it in the house! I liked it, too. In fact, I’d  like to freeze these precious days somehow. But I know there’s an even better day ahead…a very long one where time WILL be frozen.

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