And as soon as she [Potiphar’s wife] saw that he [Joseph] had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house… Genesis 39:13
On the surface, it looked like Potiphar’s wife loved Joseph. “Lie with me,” she said (39:7). “Day after day” she begged him, but he refused (39:10). Although her love seemed sincere, what happened next teaches us about the nature of true love.
If your love is pure, then it will remain even when you don’t get what you want. But if your love is selfish, its intensity can easily turn into hatred when things don’t work out as you had hoped.
It is very easy for our interest in people to be polluted by ulterior motives. You court a person’s friendship because you think that he or she can do something for you. But then the answer is ‘No.’ You are not going to get that money, that contract, or that position.
When that happens, Matthew Henry observes, selfish love is easily changed to sinful hatred. So often, the deepest venom in the human heart is directed toward people or churches or employers we once said we loved.
When that happens, it may say something about our love. Potiphar’s wife only knew one kind of love, and when she did not get her way, the true nature of her heart was revealed. She robbed Joseph of his good name, caused him to be put out of his job, and instigated his arrest. What she did was a great sin and a great injustice.
Lord, deliver me from the sinful love that so easily becomes hatred when I don’t get my way. Teach me more of the love of Christ that goes on loving even when it is slighted.