| Kevin and Becki Bachert read Matthew 1:18-19 | The Hands That First Held Mary's Child - Nate Smith | Ben shares a meditation on mercy |
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. [Matthew 1:18-19]
Joseph’s decision here was gracious and instructive.
Joseph was engaged to a young woman.
That young woman got pregnant.
The child was not his.
How is this relevant to us?
Imagine Joseph was your friend or family member. What would be your reaction? Would you tell Joseph to break it off with her? Would you tell him he should take responsibility for raising and supporting that child? Would you blame Joseph if he chose to leave the mother and child? Would you encourage him to spread the word of His fiance’s infidelity?
What if you were in Joseph’s place yourself?
Would you raise the product of your spouse’s adultery? Would you protect their dignity and show mercy? Would you loudly kick them to the curb and make sure everyone knew how awful Mary was?
Today’s culture would have zero problem with leaving mom and baby to fend for themselves. After all, you weren’t the unfaithful one. Feel free to tell everyone about it, Joseph. Mary shouldn’t have cheated on you.
Justice would be well served by exposing Mary’s infidelity.
Joseph resolved to be merciful. He would quietly divorce her because he did not want to disgrace her publicly. Even in the face of what must have seemed like a painful betrayal, Joseph chose mercy.
What is the lesson?
When you have the right, the reason and the ability to destroy, withhold your wrath. Choose mercy.
Father, give us the heart of Joseph. When we feel ourselves wronged, whether it is true or not, help us to always choose mercy.