Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (Isa 61:7 NIV)
Culture experts have identified three negative forces that are present in every society. The impact of these three things will vary from culture to culture but everyone has experienced the power of fear, guilt and shame. Each society tends to have one or all of these three as a shaping force in the way people think and function. Animistic societies tend to be most influenced by fear. Western culture is strongly influenced by guilt and Middle Eastern and Asian cultures tend to have shame as the fundamental social force.
The message of Jesus Christ provides a positive solution to every negative issue in life. God’s answer to the power of fear is His divine love, power and victory over darkness. Those under the weight of guilt and condemnation are set free by exchanging their sins and failures for the righteousness of Christ. The negative force of shame is neutralized by the spirit of honour that God gives to His redeemed sons and daughters.
The Old Testament story of King David’s treatment of Mephibosheth (the grandson of King Saul and son of Jonathan) wonderfully demonstrates how the spirit of honour can overcome the root of shame. The story is found in I Samuel 9 where David seeks out this crippled but surviving member of the royal family in order to honour him. Mephibosheth is an example of someone who has been overcome with shame.
The Roots and Fruits of Shame in Mephibosheth:
- He had a Disgraced family (v. 1)
- He had a Disfigured body (v. 3)
- He had a Doubtful future (v. 4)
- He had a Displaced inheritance (v. 4)
- He had a Distorted identity (v. 8)
King David addressed these issues by showing honour to him in the following ways:
- He Initiated a search for Mephibosheth (v. 1-4)
- He Intended to show him kindness (vs. 1,3,7)
- He Invited Mephibosheth into his presence (v. 5)
- He Insured his future (v. 7)
- He Included Mephibosheth at his table (vs. 10-13)
King David is a picture of how King Jesus comes to replace shame with honour and to restore us into a place of value, blessing and favour in the eyes of God and man. Far more than a simple promise of prosperity, the gift of honour addresses a fundamental issue of the heart. Most of the unreached people groups in our world are living in shame/honour cultures. Bringing the Good News to them must include God’s intention to do good to all peoples and to include them at His table. Helping them understand God’s heart to bring them out of shame is a key that He has placed into our hands.
Giving Honour God’s Way,