Monday, December 11,2017
Psalms 119:73 – 80 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts. May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes. May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.
She came into the house for the first time when she was two. Her adoptive parents were thrilled that she was there. She would be the fourth child, and the first girl. Her three older brothers weren’t sure of this new arrangement.
Things went well for a time, but by the age of 12 things went bad. Very bad. She showed no respect for authority and no response to discipline. She began experimenting sexually with boys from school by age 13. She ran away at age 16, got pregnant, and got married. The state took the child away from her because of abuse. She had at least three other children, all of whom were remanded to state custody because of abuse.
Her parents discovered when the adoption records were opened that she had been seriously abused before she was 2, including broken bones. Every attempt was made to reconcile and restore, but her path was chosen. The last her family heard from her was almost 15 years ago, when she called to tell them she was leaving her life as a prostitute in Las Vegas because she decided she was a lesbian, and wanted her adoptive father, a pastor, to marry her to her girlfriend.
Imagine the heartbreak of those parents. Imagine how ashamed they must have felt. Two Godly people serving the Lord and offering an opportunity for an abundant life to a girl in need, and she rejected it. The mother died without ever being able to reconcile the relationship. How this must have crushed her maternal heart. The father is still alive, and prays for her, knowing that God is mighty to save. Her brothers wonder where she is, and if she’s alive. Once they talked about starting an investigation to find her, but she changed her name and they assume she doesn’t want to be found.
The arms of love, compassion, and forgiveness are open, but it’s up to her to turn and run to them and take delight in the ways of God. Only then will the shame be turned into rejoicing. That’s what the love of God does. He forgives, restores, and rejoices over us when we repent.
Now imagine the heartbreak of the Creator whose hands made and formed us, when we do not take delight in His ways and seek to understand His commands. Imagine what happens to the heart of the Father when one of His children is looked upon with shame by the other members of the family.
This, I believe, is what the Psalmist wants us to understand today. Two times he refers to people who fear God looking at his life, and two times he prays that their response would be positive and that he would not be ashamed.
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me. May those who fear you turn to me.
If their response is anything else, then he says he will be put to shame. He understands that he has a responsibility to his Father and to his family to learn God’s ways and walk in them. Anything less brings shame to the family.
Now I’m not heavy into shaming people, but shame is a Biblical principle. Look at what the Apostle John says in First John 2:28 – And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
It’s unfortunate that our culture has made shame a sin in order to cover up the shame of sin. But when we sin, we should be ashamed before our Creator. When we sin, we must expect others in our spiritual family to be ashamed as well. It’s not supposed to feel good.
Someday I pray that my sister comes home. I pray she’s still alive. I pray that the shame she must feel will be overwhelmed by the love and compassion of a Heavenly Father as she remembers her early teaching.
But even more important to me than that is this: that my life would never bring shame to my Father in heaven, or to His family.