This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. (Matt. 1:18-19 NLT)
Because Mary was betrothed when she became pregnant, Mosaic Law would likely call for her death, depending on the exact circumstances that led her to pregnancy. Joseph did not want this, so he figured that he could break the engagement quietly, which would allow for the other man to take Mary as his wife instead, restoring a bit of honor to all involved. But since there was no other man involved, this honorable act would have turned Mary into a single mother forever ostracized from her family and community.
Instead, because of the intervention of God through an angel in a dream, Joseph continued with the marriage, knowing full well that according to the village gossip he would be raising an illegitimate child, either his own or, worse, that of another man. This would then taint his reputation along with Mary’s, yet he persisted and followed God’s leading. Like Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, many times the godly acts result in a loss of reputation among certain groups. In what ways have you let your reputation guide your actions rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to direct you to deep levels of trust in His ways, similar to the deep level of trust that Joseph held?