Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. (Matt. 1:19)

NEWS ALERTS FLASH across electronic screens with the latest world events and celebrity activities. Friends and family relay information, share stories, or post photos. With the click of a button, what occurred moments ago can circle the globe in seconds.

If it had occurred today, Mary’s story would have had social media abuzz. After an initial post, the dialogue threads would be impossible to stop. There would be no way to eradicate all the negative statements; the stories and impressions would remain.

Although news traveled by different means during Joseph’s time, social damage could easily have occurred within a short span then as well. Fortunately, when Mary explained her plight, Joseph held his tongue and curbed his actions. Something made him pause. Perhaps he hesitated because he knew Mary wasn’t the type of girl to fabricate a story. Whatever the reason, his approach to the situation was a statement of his character. He didn’t berate the girl or gossip to his friends. Instead, he waited, which allowed God time to speak truth and provide guidance.

When we receive sensitive information, we face the same choice Joseph faced: tell the world or hold our tongues. While our initial thoughts may be of shock or disbelief, we too should hit the pause button before reacting. Even if the situation calls for swift action, we should respond without public ridicule.

Guard your tongue to avoid damaging relationships and reputations.

Jill Printzenhoff is a science teacher and avid reader. She enjoys kayaking, fishing, bike riding, hiking, and vacationing with her husband and their two daughters.

© 2017 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.