Mrs. David (Madge) Wallace was the mother-in-law to President Harry S. Truman and as a friend described her “a prisoner of shame”. In 1903 her young, handsome, and prominent husband climbed into the family’s bathtub and shot himself. The humiliation was more than Madge could bear and she never fully recovered. Even Truman’s wife Bess did not want Harry to become involved in national politics fearing that journalists would find out about her father’s suicide. Family status had quickly turned into their shame.
Man was not meant to live in shame. To follow Jesus is to leave the solitary confinement of shame in order to live in connection with God and others. Love embraces all of a person even his shame. It cannot pick and choose which parts to love and which to leave out. Anyone can love the good and attractive but it is only through the good news of redemption found in Jesus coupled with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that we can love the undesirable in others.
Jesus went right to the shame of a person. Whether talking with the woman at the well who had gone through 5 divorces or having dinner with society’s outcasts, being tainted by another’s shame never seems to be a concern of Jesus. (More than once the question was raised about Jesus, “Doesn’t he realize what type of person she is and the things that she has done?”)
Your disciple will learn how to deal with his own shame and the shame of others by your love for him in spite of his shame. I believe that part of the reason why Peter did not take his own life after his betrayal of the Lord and why he was the first to run to the grave after the resurrection and why he dove out the boat to swim to Jesus on shore, was because Peter knew he could trust the heart of his friend after having witnessed for three years how Jesus loved, forgave, and kindly handled the shame of others.