Joseph put his brothers through a series of tests before he reconnected with them. As we see the brothers being stopped outside the city, accused of stealing, and taken back to face Joseph, we realize that Joseph has been struggling through his human emotions on the road to grace and forgiveness. He hid a silver cup in Benjamin’s bag which could have resulted from his struggle to show grace, but also shows an element of wisdom related to testing.
Joseph wants to see if his brothers have changed. They so easily sold him (Dad’s favorite) to get rid of him. Now they have a golden opportunity to get rid of Jacob’s now favored son Benjamin. However, the brothers’ actions reveal that two decades have changed them. Judah gives a speech standing up for Benjamin that offers us a lesson in making an appeal. And whether we realize it or not, we all make appeals in our relationships, especially with those who are closest to us.
Consider these four principles of an appeal we learn from Judah’s speech:
- Choose the right posture. Judah speaks respectfully. He uses a tone and language that convey humility.
- Give the history and background information. Before he makes his request, Judah spends the majority of his words helping the other party fully understand the complexity of the situation.
- Be solution oriented. Judah proposes a sacrificial possibility to address the issue: he offers himself in Benjamin’s place, playing the role of redeemer. It’s easy to point out a problem, but finding a plausible alternative with personal investment gives an appeal even greater credibility.
- Help the person understand the consequences of his or her decision. Judah points out that taking Benjamin will have grave ramifications for his father.
Is there a situation in which you feel an injustice has been done that you would like to address? If so, how can you apply one or more of these principles from Judah’s speech in your situation?