“But when he had considered this, behold,
an angle of the Lord appeared to him in a dream,
saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid
to take Mary as your wife; for that which has
been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:22
The Bible is kind enough to recounts a moment of Joseph’s whereas his character was put on full display. He had been described as a righteous man, and this verse is adequate in presenting and proving the description and label given to him.
Joseph leaves to honor his end of the covenant. He secures the dowry, prepares the home to receive his new bride, and returns to find her with child. He’s been gone the entire time, and they were not formerly intimate with each other. There is no way that this child is from his loins. Furthermore, the woman of virtue he chose to build his family, and extend his lineage and legacy through, is with child from someone else.
We can imagine the range of emotions he had. Of course we know Mary was having her own challenges, but for this, we will focus on Joseph.
Thank God Joseph is not Johnny!
Now, I do consider myself a righteous man, but this is way beyond my status. Compared to Joseph, I am a 3 of 10! I am sure many of you would measure up the same. Joseph is hours away from being on the front page of the local paper. He’s moments away from being the latest hashtag, tweet meme. Soon, His face will be on every social media site with Michael Jordan’s Cry face imposed in place of his! He will have have too change his social media status, and remove all tags that include her, and give a full explanation as to why they will not move from betrothed to married. This is a social, spiritual and emotional nightmare!!! Worse, he will have to read all the hashtags: #wholetRKellyGuardher #sheready #shecouldntwaith #whybythecow #ihavethedowryhegotthedraws #seemslikeyourready #theresomethingaboutmary . This is going to get out of hand! The cat meme’s!!!!
Measure Twice; Cut Once!
Joseph grabs a moment to himself! He goes for a walk (not literally) and goes through his options. The Bible says, “…he had considered…”. Most of the time, we would spend our time on the “But when…” of the test, but the “…he had considered…” bears so much weight. Joseph had an important decision to make; one that he would make once. The old adage is “Measure twice, cut once”. He loved Mary, and had respect for Mary, and desired to see no harm come to her. He wanted her to have a long life and an opportunity at happiness beyond this one moment (lapse in judgement). How many of us want those who have hurt us or betrayed us to breath one more breath?
Gotta Fight that Feeling!
Fighting with each thought that entered his mind ( Well, maybe not Joseph, but Johnny! ), Joseph carefully chose which thoughts to latch onto, and what to reject. Joseph fought through the emotions of the situations, and as a righteous man, was able to focus on what was important; the lives or Mary and her child. I wonder how many of us do the same? I am sure Joseph desired justice. He had honored his part of the contract, and she had broken her part of the contract. He wanted to void the agreement, and had just reason to do so. No one would think less of him. This would not count against him as righteous, rather it would add to be counted as just and fair.
Are you able to take evil thoughts Captive?
I can not attribute and evil thought to Joseph, but will rather say his will did not align with God’s will. I will however, (assuming I’m not the only one that has evil thoughts) talk about how challenging it is to capture thoughts when emotions are high. Its like playing the Atari version of Asteroid. One by one, trying to destroy each thought, knowing that the next will come either from your own imagination, or from the mouths of others. Like a Cowboy looking to gain control of a loose calf, we must be aggressive and strategic in roping each though, taking away their legs so they cant roam free and take a seat in our heart.
Just Move On!
Even though he had the right to destroy her, he was willing to do something we should do more often: “Move on!” Joseph counted his losses (mainly time and effort), packed his bags, and prepared to move on. Have you ever asked yourself how much energy, time, and resources you put into “getting justice”? The time and effort you put into evening the score, and destroying those who have wronged you. Not Joseph! He kicked dirt on the smoldering pain and frustration he had, and made sure his passion would not get the best of him. Most of us would have waged a campaign to insure Mary felt the same, if not more, pain than we felt in that moment!
You have to Coordinate!
Though Joseph made a righteous decision as a righteous man, he was asked to make a righteous decision as though he was divine. Joseph was not only asked to do right by Mary and her baby, but was asked to take her as his wife and raise the baby as his son. He was asked to reflect God both inside and out. Yes, Cooorrrrdinate!
I am sure many of you, like me, are thankful that God does not discard us because of one decision. He is willing to marry us in the state that we are in. He unites with us as we are found, and loves us until the point of change! Thank God that in this moment, Joseph was asked and was willing to do the same. It’s my prayer that those reading will be inspired to do the same!
Sometimes You have to Sleep on It!
The Bible says the Angel came to Joseph in a dream. This was after he made up his mind about what should be done, but God sent word to him before he could act on what he planned. Thank God he did! Sometimes you have to Sleep on It! We have to give ourselves time to rest and distance ourselves from the immediate pain and emotions. We need a moment to back up, and to dismiss all that are present, giving us advice, and stirring the emotions and adding fuel to our fears. Joseph went to sleep! While resting, I am so glad that his first thought wasn’t his last; and neither does ours.
Don’t Make a Decision Too Soon!
The Angel of the Lord yelled (figuratively), “…Too Soon! Don’t Do It! Reconsider…”, as though he was Big Boi talking to Andre’ 3000! I am inspired by this passage to take my time with decisions. We often go with our first mind, not seeking or listening to God’s will in our circumstance. We must understand that justice stems far beyond what the law dictates. There is an aspect of being just that is saturated in mercy and fortified with grace. It’s the same justice that is afforded to us by the Lord, who is long-suffering with us, and willing to give us an opportunity to change and align our wills and lives with His to get the glory.