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.