Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly… When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25
Reflections: Making Stressful Decisions
Surprises come in many varieties, but there is something heart stopping when you discover that your fiancé is pregnant and you are not responsible. How do you make a good decision when both love and anger rage inside you and you don’t know what to do?
What guided Joseph was that he was a “righteous” man, that is, he worked at obeying the scriptures that he knew. That inner compass enabled him to teach us two critical steps to take in a crisis.
First, we must be gentle to those involved. Even though Joseph seemed to be the one hurt, he treated Mary kindly even before he received the dream from the angel with all the answers. Instead of lashing out or taking the role of the victim, his heart’s first concern was for her. Yes, hurts are real and bring us pain; but we must remember that others are involved and reach out with understanding and generosity for their wellbeing as well.
Second, Joseph was obedient to what God revealed to him. After the dream, he did exactly what he was told without exception. We, too, must tune our hearts in a crisis to what God would have us do. Surely, there is some clear teaching in the Bible or a biblical principle to follow in every situation. When the hurts come your way, do you tend to follow your selfish impulses or God’s truth? Only one brings blessing.
God used Joseph’s two-fold reaction as part of his plan to bring salvation to the world. Just imagine what the Lord could do through your righteous responses to the injustices that come your way?