Joseph Chose to Offer Grace
“Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement quietly” (Matthew 1:18-19 GNT).
The Christmas story could have gone differently for Joseph. Think about it: God could have chosen to save Joseph a lot of confusion and pain by directly telling him about Baby Jesus. Instead, Joseph has to learn the news from Mary and possibly think his fiancée’s been unfaithful to him.
What is God doing here? He is testing Joseph’s character. He wants to see if Joseph will be compassionate, forgiving, and loving. And instead of trying to get even or even getting angry, Joseph chooses to offer grace and let the pain go.
Mary was struggling with fear at the first Christmas, and Joseph was struggling with anger. This happens today in marriage after marriage. Often, one spouse is dealing with fear and the other is dealing with anger at the same time. Joseph had every reason to be hurt and wounded, but he didn’t attack Mary in his hurt. He offered her grace.
The Bible says in Matthew 1:18-19, “Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement quietly” (GNT).
That’s a beautiful example of grace. Joseph doesn’t publicly embarrass her. He’s not trying to shame her. He just says, “Okay. We’re going to call off the wedding.” Joseph is put in a difficult situation, but he chooses to do what he thinks would honor God, not yet understanding that the Heavenly Father had a bigger plan for Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus.
Who has hurt you deeply? Are you still hanging on to that hurt? If you are, that’s one of the reasons you’re not joyful. You cannot be resentful and joyful at the same time. You’ve lost your joy because you’ve kept your resentment.
You’re not going to change anything by holding on to your hurt. Don’t forgive because the other person deserves it. Forgive because it’s what God has done for you. Offer grace, and let the pain go.
Do you want to be bitter, or do you want to be blessed? When you choose to show grace and let it go after people hurt you, you get God’s blessing on your life.
Talk It Over
What hurt have you had a hard time letting go of? How has it affected your joy?
How has resentment affected your physical health—or the health of someone you know?
What does God’s forgiveness mean to you? You’ll never be able to forgive fully until you’ve understood how much God has done for you.
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.