“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” Proverbs 11:3
Mary, Elizabeth, and Zacharias sang poetic praise, Simeon and Anna spoke words of blessing, the shepherds told others the good news and the wise men asked earnest questions. They all had a lot to say regarding the birth of Jesus, but Joseph, a principal character in the nativity, said nothing. None of the gospels record any profound words that the earthly father of Jesus said about the miracle that others would perceive to be a scandal. Instead, Joseph’s actions spoke louder about his character and His trust in God than any words he could have pontificated!
We first meet Joseph as he is deciding to show mercy to the woman he loves, despite all evidence indicating her betrayal. Legally, Joseph had the right to have her stoned, but he felt no justification in destroying Mary or her reputation, so he decided to divorce her quietly. While Joseph was contemplating this decision, he had a dream from God that gave him miraculous insight into Mary’s pregnancy. He followed the angel’s directions, married Mary, and likely endured all the gossip that ensued about his newlywed status. He had three other dreams, all relating to the safety of Jesus, and Joseph heeded the warnings, following the instructions of angels without question. These instructions involved Joseph uprooting his family and moving to an unfamiliar place. Not only did Joseph lose his reputation, but also likely had to start all over in his career. Christian radio commentator, David Jeremiah, says, “Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed.” Joseph embodies this definition of integrity, providing an example for all of us on how to act in the presence of our Savior!