Summary: Authentic relationships are enhanced when I say what I mean and mean what I say

This morning I’d like to begin with a quote from one of my favorite theologians – Theodor Geisel, probably better known to most of us as Dr. Seuss. In his book Horton Hatches an Egg, Horton the elephant utters these words:

I meant what I said,

and I said what I meant

An elephant's faithful,

One hundred percent.

This morning, as we conclude our four week series on Building Blocks for Authentic Relationships, we’re going to look at the account of a relationship that is characterized by that kind of commitment to be true to what we say.

Obviously in just four weeks, we can’t possibly cover every single building block that is necessary to develop authentic relationships. However, I am convinced that if we’ll just apply the four that we’re covering in this series, we will be able to significantly enhance our relationship with God and with others.

Before we get to our fourth and final building block, let’s take a moment to quickly review the first three building blocks that we’ve developed:

Three weeks ago we looked at the relationship between Abram and Lot and developed the first building block of selflessness, which we summarized like this:

Authentic relationships are enhanced when

I yield my rights in order to prevent unnecessary fights

Two weeks ago we developed the second building block of forgiveness from the account of Joseph and his brothers and summarized that building block like this:

Authentic relationships are enhanced when

I give up my right to hurt you for hurting me

Last week, we looked at the relationship between Naomi and Ruth and developed the building block of loyalty, which we summarized like this.

Authentic relationships are enhanced when

I am faithful to others regardless of what’s in it for me

The fourth and final building block that we’ll look at in this series is demonstrated by how David treats Mephibosheth. When I first envisioned this message I planned to focus on the building block of kindness – and we could certainly do that today. But the more that I looked at the account of this relationship, the more it seemed to me that the real building block here is that of integrity – especially as it relates to keeping my word. So this morning we’ll develop that final building block, which we’ll summarize like this:

Authentic relationships are enhanced when

I say what I mean and mean what I say

Many of you probably aren’t real familiar with Mephibosheth. Perhaps you’ve even avoided studying his life just because you don’t want to have to pronounce his name. But David’s relationship with him is a great illustration of the kind of integrity that is crucial to the development of authentic relationships.

That relationship covers a pretty good chunk of Scripture in 1 and 2 Samuel so you’re going to need to have your Bibles handy.

The relationship begins with a covenant between David and Jonathan in which David promises to protect Jonathan’s family in return for Jonathan revealing his father Saul’s plans to harm David. That covenant is reaffirmed at the end of 1 Samuel chapter 20:

Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

(1 Samuel 20:42 ESV)

Shortly thereafter, Jonathan is killed in battle, along with his father, King Saul. Even though God had anointed David to be king of Israel, another of Saul’s sons, Ish-bosheth takes the throne of the ten northern tribes by force and ruled over that portion of Israel for two years. It is during that time that we are first introduced to Mephibosheth:

Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

(2 Samuel 4:4 ESV)

Mephibosheth was five years old when his nurse heard the news of his father’s death. As she fled with him in her arms, she dropped Mephibosheth and he became lame. Shortly thereafter, Ish-bosheth is murdered and David becomes the king of all Israel.

We next see Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9. So go ahead and turn to that chapter in your Bibles and follow along as I read beginning in verse 1:

[1] And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” [2] Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” [3] And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” [4] The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.”

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