And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. He had neither taken care of his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety. And when he came to Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” He answered, “My lord, O king, my servant deceived me, for your servant said to him, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself, that I may ride on it and go with the king.’ For your servant is lame. He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. For all my father’s house were but men doomed to death before my lord the king, but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to cry to the king?” And the king said to him, “Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land.” And Mephibosheth said to the king, “Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home.” II Samuel 19:24-30 ESV
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8 ESV
King Lear was getting old, and he wanted to divide his kingdom between his three daughters. He wanted to give the biggest share of his kingdom to the daughter who loved him the most. Two of his daughters used all kinds of flowery words to tell King Lear how much they loved him, but his daughter Cordelia just told him she loved him as a daughter should. Cordelia’s answer was the honest one, and she truly loved her father the most, but King Lear was very angry and cut her off without anything. King Lear eventually found out that he couldn’t trust his other two daughters, and that they were plotting to kill him. Cordelia raised an army to protect her father. She went on loving and wanting to help him even though he had done wrong to her.
David had wronged Mephibosheth three times. In a way it had been kind of David to give him back the land that had belonged in Saul’s family, but David didn’t have any right to take that land in the first place. Israel’s land belonged to God, not to the king, and it wasn’t supposed to be passed from one tribe to another. Then, when Ziba told a lie about Mephibosheth, David believed it and took all the land away from Mephibosheth and gave it to Ziba. Finally, when David came back to Jerusalem and saw that Mephibosheth had not been trying to take the throne for himself, he still didn’t give Mephibosheth justice. He only gave back half of his land. But Mephibosheth, like his father Jonathan, loved David. That love covered all of David’s sins against him, and he forgave him. He was so happy to see David back and safe that he said Ziba could have all of the land. That’s real love!
When people hurt us and do wrong to us, it’s not always easy to know what to do. It’s always good to talk to a parent or teacher or another trusted adult if you need help or protection. But one thing that is always right is to love the person and forgive the hurt. Jesus loved us so much that he took all kinds of hurt for our sake. He was beaten and whipped and finally put on the cross to die. He did this so that our sins could be forgiven. Jesus loves us no matter what, and his love covers our sins. Because of his love and his death on the cross, we can always go to him for forgiveness and help.
Dear Jesus, thank you for your wonderful love and for all that you’ve done for us. Please forgive our sins and help us to love and forgive others. Amen.
Shakespeare, William King Lear