Scripture tells us that Mary, the mother of Jesus ,was a godly young woman, and that God found favor in her because of it. She must have truly been something to be chosen out of all the women in the world to carry, birth, and raise the Son of God. But what about her husband Joseph? Surely he must have had good character to help raise Jesus as well.
Matthew 1:18 says that by the time Mary was pregnant with Jesus that she was already betrothed to Joseph. The two had not yet been sexually involved. This would’ve led the community to believe that the young woman had not been faithful. Back in those days in their society, the punishment for adultery(particularly for women) was death by stoning. Even though they weren’t lawfully married yet, the punishment might have been the same. But Jospeh had something else in mind.
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make a public example, was minded to put her away privily”. – Matthew 1:19 KJV
This says something about his character. Joseph was merciful, caring, and fair-minded. Joseph must have truly loved that young woman to not want to make a spectacle of her. He was going to spare Mary the humiliation and possible death sentence by divorcing her quietly. Some of you must be thinking, Oh how shady of Joseph wanting to keep things hush hush. On the contrary, he was going to do it out of mercy.
Most of us who know the story know that Joseph didn’t go through with what he contemplated. According to Matthew 1:20, it was an angel of the Lord who visited Joseph who assured him that Mary was miraculously impregnated by the Holy Spirit, and that he should take Mary as his wife. Furthermore, he was told that the child was to be called Jesus, for he was going to save his people from their sins. Joseph did just as he was instructed.
How many of us can do what Jospeh was thinking do? Too often a good many of us are determined to ruin our spouses for breaking their vows with us. Maybe some justice is necessary for the betrayal. Maybe we do need to part ways if there is no reconciling. I understand that. When one cheats, a trust has been broken. The bond between both partners is damaged. But do we have to air our dirty laundry for the entire world to know? Must we put it all on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter? Must we make complete fools of ourselves on national television? Must we go to extreme measures that can’t be undone?
Perhaps we could learn from Joseph. Let this holiday season remind us to be more caring, merciful, and loving towards one another.