The Necessity of “Thinking before Acting”

We continue with our look at the life of Joseph by reading Matthew 1:19-20a:  “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.  But while he thought about these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying…”   What I’d like to emphasize today is the phrase “while he thought about these things”.  By this time Mary had told Joseph about the pregnancy.  We don’t have the words she used nor are we allowed to “peek” into the conversation in any way but we know that Joseph knows.  We also know that society and culture of that day practically demanded that Joseph walk away from the relationship.  I’m impressed by the phrase, “while he thought about these things”.

Joseph took time to think about the circumstances of his life and what he knew about Mary and perhaps what Mary had told him.  He didn’t make a rash decision.  He kept his options open until God was able to get him some truth….through an a-mail message from an angel in a dream.  What is the lesson for us?  Social scientists have written about the importance of that period of time between when we are impacted by stimuli and when we act.  There is a time when the brain processes the information before we take action.  I fear that most of us, most of the time, are too quick to act.  We are too quick to form an opinion, too quick to feel like we know all of the facts and that we must act decisively.  We act like we are umpires making calls at first base..where decisiveness is essential. However, we’re not umpires.  When we make decisions we often have more options than “safe or out” and we often don’t have all of the facts right away.  Plus, acting quickly often means that we’ve not allowed God to factor into our situation.

Perhaps you are facing an important decision right now today.  Have you thought to bring God’s perspective into the decision?  Have you given the decision enough time to truly develop? We all need to think before we act and we can learn that lesson from Joseph.


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