Shame is ugly. We often try to hide our embarrassing exposure. Guilt says that a mistake has been made but shame goes a step further and says we are a failure. This identity is paralyzing. In 2 Samuel 9, we see a story were grace conquers shame and mercy rejoices over judgment and underserved favor is given.
David and Mephibosheth
Mephibosheth had nothing to offer King David or anyone for that matter. He was a failed father and a burden to his family. He was a cripple from birth with problems larger than life. He was a lame shame.
One day King David summoned him.
“Why would you have anything to do with me? I am a dead dog, there is nothing I can offer you of any value.” the cripple shook while he spoke. He knew why he was called, he was going to be punished.
King David stood up from his throne and moved closer to Mephibosheth.
“I have the power to give life or take it, you have nothing to offer me that you know of, but I am showing kindness because of your grandfather Jonathan – I loved him as my own soul. Nothing that you have done or will do will change my decision. I am making you a place at my table because of honor to another, I look at you as I would Jonathan, you are royalty to me.”
As the king’s servants approached Mephibosheth he was waiting for the catch or stipulation, he could not believe his ears. He had not known such favor or kindness. He was accustomed to the rough slums of Lodebar was he never had enough; where he fought for the little that he did have; this unconditional care was strange for him.
The king summoned a new robe, shoes and a ring for Mephibosheth, he now had the power, privilege, and position of a son. The servants lifted him onto a royal carrier and led him to the King’s table. The king’s dining chamber was magnificent, food as far as the eye could see, with beautiful arrangements and dazzling place settings. The room was filled with sweet incense and all eyes were upon him. The hushed conversations turned into applause.
He was now made one of the king’s family. King David stood by the table and said, “this is good, from this day forward let it be known that Mephibosheth and his family will no longer be known as an enemy, but as my royal family, for Jonathan’s sake.”
We are all like Mephibosheth, we have been rescued in the name of another – Jesus. He took our shame and pending wrath and has made us sons and daughters of the King of Kings. Today we sit in HIS presence with our crippleness covered by the blood of Jesus – we are a guest of honor.
Stigma of Shame
Just like Mephibosheth, we can be keenly aware of our shortcomings. The hollow words that echo through the human heart are “am I enough?” This gnawing question can cause self analyzation and human evaluations. This stigma is a distorted point of view that can be untwisted. Perception and feeling don’t always point to the truth.
King David wasn’t expecting anything in return, only that Mephibosheth would receive his kindness and sit at his table. He was not trying to have him feel better about himself but to give him a new identity beyond himself. Grace does the same – as we fellowship and receive love, this ministry guides us through shame and leads us to newness.
Here is a way Grace guides us through shame
- Shame is a perception that is self-centered.
- What happened may be true, but it is not the whole story
- God is always working and refining you into HIS image
- Your limitations don’t limit God
- God is not surprised by your failure
We may never be able to right our wrongs but we don’t have to hide.
Grace is a powerful agent in the believer’s life. Grace steps in and abounds over any towering destruction in our life. When grace is allowed to define us we find our identity in Jesus and we are whole.
Our shame no longer defines us because Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith – We are NOW in a new book, a new page, a new chapter, a new sentence, and new word!”
Grace conquerors shame by:
- Bearing the sin
- Establishing a divine focal point
- Introduces a limitless God
- Refreshes the soul and picks us back up again and brushes us off
- Creates a new intrinsic dictionary of terms.
- Loves us unconditionally
The kingdom of Israel took notice of King Davids kindness on this day and marveled. We are treasured as sons and daughters, we are not defined by our crippleness, or by success or shame, but by the favor and grace of the King.
Jason is a graduate from Maryland Bible College and Seminary, and presently he leads the Pastoral Care Team of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. Since age 16, Jason has been involved with mission work among the former Soviet-Bloc countries in Eastern Europe, as well as in Asia, and in the United States. While living in Ukraine, he helped church plant three new churches that continue to thrive today under trained nationals. He has also written five books and has his own podcast (tinyurl.com/IRpodcast)