Grace Enveloping Shame
There is no parable in the Bible that better portrays God the Father, than the story of the Prodigal Son. I have been never so deeply moved by the story as when I heard Tim Keller’s sermon, “The Prodigal God.” Prodigal meaning: having or giving something on a lavish scale. Recently though, I was touched again by the story when someone pointed out why the father ran to his son.

Returning home to a small town in rags and smelling like a pig -after wasting his fathers inheritance would have likely brought on the jeers and disgust from the community. With no covering for his shame, the son would have had to walk the gauntlet of shame back to the father’s home alone. Just the thought of that walk makes me quiver. But the father would have none of it! He ran to his son, embraced him, and gave him clothes with honor, and then the father himself walks the son home through the town.

What amazing love! When we return to God from our sin in shame, God the Father embraces us and clothes us with the righteousness of his son. Families of prisoners experience tremendous shame and shaming. Shame is not, “I did a bad thing,” but rather, “I am a bad thing.” When our campers and their families arrive on the bus at Camp David, the staff cheer and run to them to celebrate their arrival. Our camper’s moms have often told us how significant this moment was for them. Now I understand much better why. This is grace enveloping shame.