You may not know who Alan Ralsky is, but I’m guessing that he isn’t one of your favorite people. In the early days of the Internet he amassed a fortune by sending out what we know of as spam email. He became known as the “spam king.” An article in his local newspaper revealed his lavish lifestyle, and some of the locals got his address. Then, someone posted it on the internet and the address, and the solution, went viral. People signed him up for all kinds of junk mail offers that came in the regular mail. At the height of the revenge of the spammed, Ralsky was getting hundreds of pounds of junk mail each day. He was victimized by the same type of scheme that he had set up.
David knew of people like that. They would betray others, cause them misery, or even a great inconvenience to gain money, power, or influence. Friendships would be destroyed because of something the devious person thought was more important. Perhaps a treacherous friend would do something seeking to shame David, or some of David’s friends. People will do a lot of things to avoid being shamed. If not, blackmailers wouldn’t make a living. David remembered one truth about God. “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (Psalm 25:3)
Perhaps you know people like that. They think that the best way to get ahead in this world is by gaining money, power, or influence. Because of that, they seek to climb the ladder of success. They will do anything, step over anyone, betray anyone to get to the next rung of the ladder. As the climb the ladder of worldly success, they leave scattered behind them a trail of tears, broken relationships, and destroyed lives. Little do they care about those problems, because they are achieving their goals. They keep on climbing until they get to the top rung of the ladder. Only there do they realize that the ladder is leaning on a cloud and when the rain comes, the cloud disappears and everything comes crashing down. It is only as the pick themselves out of the shame and rubble of a failed life that they begin to wonder if there isn’t something more to life.
The problem those people experience is that they are looking for success in all the wrong places. True success is found in our relationship with God. David reminds us that those who hope in God will never be put to shame. Obviously, when caught in our sin, we are ashamed, but when looking for meaning in life, we will never experience shame when our relationship with God is of primary importance. What do we want out of life? Money? I’m the heir of the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and all the hills. Power? My strength comes from the one who overpowered death. Influence? God hears and considers my prayers each day. He gives me the grace I need to live for Him every day and touches me with His love and forgiveness. When you walk with God, you don’t worry about climbing those ladders of success the world puts in front of you; instead you look for opportunities to share His love with those whose ladders have fallen; whose worlds have collapsed. We seek them not to enhance their shame, but to show them the love of God that overcomes all shame.
Oh Lord, I see so many being put to shame as their worlds collapse. Grant them Your presence, I pray. Use me to show them Your love. Let my example show those whose worlds have fallen apart that there is hope only in You and that You are waiting for them with open arms to grant them grace and forgiveness.