The Pain Principle.
The David Principle.
The Mephibosheth Principle.

The Biblical story of two men, David and Mephibosheth, which depicts the pain principle so well; can be found in both Hollywood and life stories.

First, you have the pain element. There has to be pain in the story in order to have victory. The underdog becomes the top dog. The loser becomes the winner.

Second, you have the hero. The miracle benefactor. The star. The giver. The healer.

The one who always picks up the check at dinner, cooks and cleans for the guests, the person in victory. No pain. Life is good.

Third, you have the one in need of rescue. The one who requires something – be it money, love, sympathy, healing, a job, or attention. The person in pain. Life sucks.

Pain is not fun. We hate pain. No one volunteers for torture, yet suffering is woven in the fabric of life. No one, absolutely no one, gets through life pain free.

Everyone hopes and dreams of being a David, king of their castle or hut; boss of their business or tiny office at work.  

Being King is privilege. Being King may be as simple as mom being the boss of her house, coach being absolute dictator of the team, sibling being in control of brother or sister. Sports referee being able to say to a coach, “One more word out of you and you’re gone!”

Stories need pain, and a hero who solves that pain. Stories demand character progression.


Funny name by today’s English – Mephibosheth.

(Mephibosheth). Means Shame.

“Phib” was not his first name according to the historian who wrote the Old Testament story. His first name was Merib Baal. It means to run away.

Great movies often have a great chase scene. Someone is running from some sort of pain. Life is a series of either running away from pain or going into the pain to find victory.

This story is going to get longer and deeper. My fascination in personalizing the pain of David and Mephibosheth has been firing through my brain cells for several weeks thanks to our brilliant pastor, Ryan Miller, and dear friend, Steve Altmeyer, a Bible guru.

The Davids of the world avoid at all costs being a  Mephibosheth. When life’s pain takes away their David status, the learning curve is steep.

Heart attacks, car accidents, cancer, bankruptcy, death of a loved one, divorce often rip people of their David status. They now must ask for help. They become lame like our Mephibosheth.

Playing the character of Mephibosheth in a movie would be delightful. In some of the greatest movies of all time, Mafibs become the heroes. Movies like Patton, Bolt, The Princess Bride and Les Misérables are Crowell/Ferch Favorites.

Living “His legs were broken, he is lame,” is the the hard part.

We better learn how to live the Mephibosheth role when life is good, because some day it will be our part to play in our own life story.

Life lessons:

When living as a David – be a great King. Guard against arrogance. Be kind.

When living as a Mephibosheth – do all you can to win. Be grateful. Let people serve you if you have been a David all your life. If  you have never been a David find ways to be one.

If you are not in pain, shout for joy!

If in pain, don’t run from it; take it head on and win. Read 2 Samuel.


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