Monday, 15 July 2013

Sticking by your spouse.

Luke 2:1-7
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Here's another thing I thought about while reading this passage, but first up a qualification: I'm not married, in fact I'm only just an adult - so I'm not an authority on the subject. But God designed marriage and I think what I'm going to say is biblical. Tell me if it isn't.

I was thinking through Joseph and Mary. In Matthew 1 we learn that he was going to divorce Mary quietly so that he wouldn't publicly disgrace her. Obviously it looked like she had had sex outside of marriage since she was pregnant. Even so, he loved her enough to treat her respectfully when he could have made her life terrible.

But my thoughts were more along this line: Joseph took Mary to be his wife when it was obvious that she had become pregnant before their marriage. He did this because God sent an angel to explain the situation to him, but even so it gives us a good lesson. I have little doubt that almost everyone who saw them would have automatically assumed that they had had sex before they had been married. Joseph was ready to lose his reputation and to face embarrassment and shame for the sake of his wife and her honour. Husbands, do you love your wives enough and care for them enough to be publicly shamed for their sakes? Are you ready to be embarrassed for the sake of your wife? The same obviously applies to boyfriends - are you ready to lose face, maybe even lose friends to stand up for your girlfriend?

Sure, if they have sinned then we are also called to talk it over with them and to rebuke them (lovingly), but either way, are you prepared to stand up for them? Mary looked like a sinner and by sticking by her Joseph also looked like a sinner. He did so out of love for her. Would you do the same?

Another point from this: When people asked, Joseph probably would have told them the truth. That Mary hadn't been sleeping around, that an angel had visited her and told her she would become pregnant even though she was a virgin. He had to trust God and trust his wife more then he feared peoples approval. I have little doubt that people would have thought his story was ridiculous and would have mocked him for it. Are you prepared to be mocked for the truth? For God's truth? Are you prepared to be mocked for the sake of your spouse?

This probably also applies to wives, so consider it as well. If you;re not married or in a relationship (like me) then consider it too. Will you commit to this for when/if you do get in a relationship or get married? If so, work at being faithful, work at loving God above all else now.

Joseph stuck with Mary even though it was the harder option. Even though it made him look bad. Even though it probably meant he was mocked by others. He did it out of love for God and love for his wife.

Would you do the same?

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