We're not worthy1
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
- 2 Samuel 9:7-8
David offers Mephibosheth unmerited favor. And Mephibosheth doesn’t feel like he deserves it. That’s the way it always is with unmerited favor.
Those who might most benefit from charitable support often struggle to accept it. Maybe you know this from experience. We don’t want to be identified as being in need. We don’t want pity. We don’t want charity. When we receive it, we feel a wave of shame.
Some of us feel this most severely when it comes to our spiritual lives. We desperately need God’s help to save us and heal us, but we feel intense shame when we begin to draw near to God. Our unworthiness overwhelms us.
One temptation when we stumble across our unworthiness is to try positive self-talk: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” But a positive mental attitude doesn’t remove our financial burdens or our spiritual brokenness. We need more than that.
The Lord’s way of lifting us out of our shame isn’t to create a fiction in which we have nothing of which to be ashamed. Instead, he shines a light on the areas of our shame. The light may pain us. We shrink from it. But that stepping into the light allows us to be known, loved, transformed.
Ultimately, Christ meets us in the light. His love and acceptance overshadow our overwhelming shame. He doesn’t erase our past. Instead, he gives us a new future … one better than we deserve.
We’re never told how Mephibosheth makes peace with the grace he received. Some commentators go as far as to claim that he never fully accepted it, given some of his later ambiguous actions. David certainly struggles to sustain his extension of grace toward his friend’s son. And this is where the analogy breaks down.
David’s grace toward Mephibosheth gives us a glimpse of the Lord’s grace toward us; but the Lord’s grace is better, bigger, more transformative, more secure, more radical. You can receive that grace, but never earn it. You can embrace it, but never fully comprehend it. You can consider it the truest statement spoken over your life, and you can believe it.