The Gift of Justice and Shame
Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
We don’t know how Joseph came to know Mary was pregnant, all we know is that when he did, he refused to put her to open shame. A big, loud public divorce was totally within Joseph’s rights. He could have even sought a greater punishment if he so desired – the law was on his side. Not only this, it’s actually in Joseph’s best interest to make a public spectacle of Mary’s sin thereby further distancing himself from her sin. But instead, Joseph being a good, just man decided he would divorce Mary quietly in order to avoid causing her additional shame and pain. Joseph’s unwillingness to shame Mary with a public divorce meant Joseph was willing to take upon himself some of her shame and may just be one of the greatest gifts he could give.