Friday, April 23, 2010

Shame: A Letter to David

As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul's family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king's officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David's right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, "Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!" – Excerpt from 2 Samuel 16: 5-14

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 16-18; Luke 17: 20-37

Yo David,

Man, what are you thinking? I read this over and over again at least four or five times. And all I could think was wow… what would I be thinking here?

Several years earlier you knocked up Bathsheba and killed her husband in the process. The prophet Nathan told you about yourself and you felt real bad. You knew that God was not a fan of what you did.

Not one bit.

So fast forward a couple of years and here you are… running out of Israel to escape from your son Absalom. On the way out you run into Saul’s kin folk. Of course he’s not exactly pleased with you. But wow. He throws stones at you in front of all of your men and curses you saying that you got dethroned because you are a man of blood.

Must not have felt too good man…

What’s interesting is that you know that you were anointed by God through Samuel. That is undeniable. So of course what he is saying about this being retribution for Saul is incorrect. But, you sure do know that you have some innocent blood on your hands.

I too wondered why you didn’t have old boy snuffed out when he was throwing stones. But I get it. Even though he wasn’t exactly right, you knew that you were wrong.

Your tryst with Bathsheba turned you into the man of blood that he was speaking of.

I guess it pays to do right doesn’t it?

I’m not judging you, but it seems like you have some doubts at this point. But how much do you doubt? Do you doubt whether or not you will be king again? Or, do you doubt whether or not you ever should have been?

It seems to me that both are equally likely because of the remorse that you felt for the wrong that you did.

So hard man…

No person is perfect… and hence the difficulty of living life. But one thing you have shown me here David, is that when we do wrong we open the door to all kinds of confusion.

I’ll do my best… sigh…



  1. Hello Man of God,
    I believe this passage reflects one of the many reasons why God called David a man after His own heart. Although David could have brought great harm to this person, he knew this man was right for anger and disgust in David's actions.

    David was really sorry and had enough humility to bow his head in the midst of his low place to bare the burden for his shame like a man of honor.

    No matter how much we mess up, God loves us so much He will bless the humble, and humble the proud.


  2. My thoughts and behavior flow naturally from my character. A spiritual program can result in a change of character and thus in a change of behavior. But if you squeeze anyone hard enough, bad behavior will pop out. That's why we distinguish guilt--over what we did--from shame--about who we are. We all behave badly and have guilt. But those of us who can trust in God know He did not make a mistake when He created us. Therefore, we can humbly throw ourselves at the feet of the Lord and say, "show me what I must do to take advantage of your transforming grace, so that my thoughts and behavior will be transformed."

  3. @George I like your distinction between guilt and shame. No one is perfect in all of their deeds but there is a difference between making mistakes and having a fundamentally flawed nature. Very interesting comment.

    I too and glad that we have grace. It is the best gift anyone has ever received.


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