Meditation for Monday

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:20

What a wonderful man Joseph was! The previous verse identifies him as being a just man, and makes it clear that he was a compassionate and kind man. Such a man was important as the one who would be a father figure as the young Jesus was growing from infancy to adulthood. But such a man was also critical for the period before Jesus’ birth, because most men would never have accepted what happened to Mary as anything but infidelity and sin. Initially, that might have been Joseph’s opinion as well, but he did not allow that thought to prevent him from dealing with Mary with the utmost kindness and compassion. Even the apparent realization that the girl of his dreams was not all that he had hoped did not change his willingness to do all that was the very best for her. What a relief must have been the angel’s message! And what a joy to discover that Mary had not only been faithful to him, but had been found faithful by God!

Like Joseph, we sometimes encounter situations that cause us to judge people as being failures and disappointments. Our hopes for such people are crushed, and our plans for them are totally disrupted. Initial high opinions are destroyed as we look at the evidence that apparently proves that our expectations were misplaced. When we come to such a conclusion, how do we react to that person or those people? Do we lash out in anger? Do we turn away and dismiss them as irrelevant? Do we write them off in disgust? Or do we, like Joseph, look for a way to kindly provide whatever help we can?

It might be easy for us to take the route of compassion, but think of how tough it must have been for Joseph. All of his hopes for a happy family were apparently demolished. How would we respond to such a crushing life blow? Joseph’s response was kindness and compassion. And the angel’s message vindicated his attitude. We might not receive a message from an angel, but we will never be the loser when we respond to disappointments in the same way that Joseph did. As far as the world is concerned, we might be justified in lashing out in anger and rejection. But that is not the way Joseph acted. And it is not the way the Lord Jesus acted. God cannot use anger and rejection on our part, but He can use kindness and compassion for his purposes.

Joseph provides us with a wonderful example. Let us remember that example when next we face disappointment in someone we love. -Jim MacIntosh

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