Your disciple’s shame will become his connection point of love to others and the means for his role in the story and purpose of God. Neither he nor you can avoid the shame in his life if he is going to be a follower of Jesus.
Elizabeth knew shame. She and Zechariah could not have children, which in Judaism in 4 B.C. was shameful. Society viewed the couple as under the probable judgment of God for some unknown sin, even if Zechariah was a priest.
Elisabeth called her barrenness my disgrace among the people (Luke 1:25). She was marked and knew that she could never really belong. Part of the sting of shame is the stigma that comes from people putting a question mark after your name. “I wonder why God is withholding His blessing from Elizabeth?” “They seem like such a nice couple, why is God not giving them a child?” That question mark distinguishes between “those who are in” and “me”.
Shame is lonely and there were aspects of her disgrace that not even her husband could enter into with her. Elizabeth was asking the questions over and over in her head: Why can’t I give my husband a child? Is Zechariah disappointed that he married me? Are there other ways I can please my husband so he won’t become disgruntled with me?
Shame had been Elizabeth’s constant companion and now hope was gone as she was beyond childbearing age. There was a helpless feeling knowing that there was nothing she could do about her shame. She couldn’t just “fix it.” Zechariah and Elizabeth were old and their hope was so cold that Zechariah did not believe the announcement foretelling the birth of John the Baptist as their son even though it came directly from Gabriel the archangel.
Looking back Elizabeth would understand that her shame was the doorway for her role in the purposes of God by giving birth to John who prepared the way for Jesus and who, according to Jesus, was one of the greatest men who had ever lived (Matthew 11:11), but I doubt she ever forgot the pain of her shame.
Shame is a part of your disciple’s life. The good news of Jesus does not circumvent shame but goes to the heart of it. Jesus through his death and resurrection could take Peter’s shame of denying the Lord and transform him into a man of love and spiritual power to advance the Kingdom and purpose of God.