‘When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?”’ (Genesis 40:6-7)
During his work in prison, Joseph met many fellow prisoners. Genesis 40:6-7 makes clear that he was really sympathizing with them, and kept an eye on their well-being. When two of them looked downcast one day, this caught Joseph’s attention. And he didn’t put this information aside, but asked why they were troubled.
That’s a valuable lesson for us. How often do we meet people without paying attention to their well-being? Do we really have sympathy for people, do we look beyond the first superficial impression? And if we see that somebody is troubled or sad, do we show sincere interest? Do we take time to start a conversation and to ask whether we can be of any help?
A well-known saying claims: ‘shared grief is half the sorrow’. If someone can share his troubles or disappointment with us, this can be a huge blessing for him or her. Even if we can’t change the situation, our interest really helps. Especially within the church, we are called to have sympathy, brotherly love and a tender heart (1 Peter 3:8).
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