foxnews– In the Christmas story that’s featured in the Bible Joseph seemingly plays a less important role but his response to Mary’s pregnancy is what we need more of in our world today.
In ancient times a Hebrew marriage consisted of three parts. There was an engagement where the families arranged the marriage. There was the betrothal, a one-year public commitment and there was the marriage begun by a wedding. Joseph and Mary were betrothed but they had not yet had a wedding.
When Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant, he was to make it known publically according to Jewish law. Matthew 1:19 tells us he chose another path, “Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So, he decided to quietly call off the wedding.”
He chose to believe the best about Mary instead of the worst. When God spoke to him in a dream and told him the baby was from the Holy Spirit he chose to believe that as well.
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The most normal and logical assumption would have been that Mary had cheated on Joseph. No one would have blamed him for being upset or for following the religious law and making it public.
But he decided to believe her. When God told him Mary was not pregnant by a man but by the Holy Spirit he decided to believe even though nothing like that had ever happened before or since.
Something very powerful takes place when we embrace believing the best instead of the worst about people. There is great temptation in these divisive times to believe the worst, to suspect the unknown and to receive only the bad news.
We need to be more like Joseph and believe the best in people. Eugene Lang chose to believe in children’s potential. He had grown up in Harlem but went on to become a multimillionaire entrepreneur.
He founded the “I Have a Dream” Foundation to provide college scholarships for kids from Harlem. He believed in the children and that made all the difference in helping so many to stay in school and eventually graduate from college.
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When we believe in someone it makes him feel like somebody. Frankly, it is easier to believe the bad than the good. It is so easy to give in to the fear, to let the bad stuff dominate our minds and go negative.
Certainly, there are evil people in this world. And sometimes they show us how bad they really are. If they do it consistently, we know their true character. But there are far more good people. It takes more effort to build up than tear down. But building people up is the way to go.
Helping others to succeed puts our focus in the right direction. Instead of putting limits on someone’s potential we adopt a healthier mindset. Encouraging a person to reach their God-given potential will make this world a better place.
Focusing on the good instead of the bad will bring more peace on earth and goodwill toward men. The happiest people are those who invest in and improve the lives of others.
The Army did a study where they asked soldiers, “You don’t want apricots do you? Ninety percent said, “No.” Then they asked, “You do want some apricots, don’t you?” Fifty percent said, “Yes.” They tried a third question, “One dish of apricots or two?” In spite of the fact most soldiers don’t like Army apricots, forty percent took two dishes and fifty percent took one.
The soldiers went from 90% “No” to 90% “Yes.” All because of how it was presented. It’s how we choose to look at people, situations and life. And it is up to each of us to decide. Hopefully, we choose to be positive, look for the good and embrace belief.
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Jesus’ earthly father Joseph believed the best in his mother. And now Jesus believes the best in you. Jesus knows who you are, understands where you’ve been, accepts you as you are and invites you into a relationship with Him. Accept his gift this Christmas. So you can fulfill your purpose and live out God’s plan for your life.
This is the Christmas message we need in our world today. Receive it, share it and celebrate it.
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