Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (emphasis added)
As a child I struggled with self-esteem issues a lot, which resulted in my being very introverted, or withdrawn socially. The core problem was I just couldn’t do some things very well (sports especially). Any attempt to do them just resulted in utter humiliation so I simply stopped trying.
Eventually this created a mindset of avoiding anything that could result in failure or embarrassment. As you can imagine this meant the list of things to avoid got extremely long.
Trying to avoid embarrassment is nothing new, in fact this was the first response of Adam and Eve after disobeying God. And since that moment shame has been a constant part of our lives.
The normal response is to avoid it like me, or cover up the weak and shameful parts of our lives. However by doing that we overlook the fact that shame is a gift from God.
Genesis 3:7 is an incredibly sad verse because it marks a huge change in the relationship between God and man:
- Adam and Eve experienced the promised knowledge of Satan (3:5) but it only brought realization of their sin
- They knew (experientially) that they had sinned against God which filled their hearts with shame .
- Their nakedness here while physical, also illustrates their sinfulness in the eyes of God (they knew that they were wicked)
- This led them to cover their nakedness (sin)
Obviously the idea of hiding sins from the God who made everything using leaves is ridiculous. But notice that the Lord doesn’t call Adam and Eve out on their sin right away.
Gen. 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (emphasis added)
As amazing as it sounds God allowed Adam and Eve to play “hide and go seek,” and then asks why they were hiding (even though He knew what they had done).
Why would God do that? Because He wanted them to willingly confess their sin.
The direct question God asked Adam in 3:11 was an opportunity to do the right thing and admit he had eaten the fruit, instead he blamed Eve (3:12) and in a way God  for the sin.
The point is shame or guilt after sin is a healthy thing because it leads us to a place of repentance and confession before God.
Confession is basically coming the Lord, admitting our brockeness (inability to save ourselves), and asking for His help.
Of course this is difficult since we will have swallow our pride and display weakness, which is why most of us (myself included) just cover up or hide our shame.
However in our busyness trying to make sure nobody sees our weakness we overlook an important point.
God sees it.
Oh in His Grace He gives us opportunities to repent and confess but make no mistake…He sees you behind the tree.
It’s interesting that shame fills a persons heart even if nobody ever finds out about their rebellion. The reason for this is somebody has already seen in it..the God who created them.
So the next time your shoveling another load of emotional dirt on that humiliating experience like me stop for a moment and ask yourself, why am I ashamed right now?
Then do yourself a favor and come out from behind the tree. Because it’s only then you will encounter a God who judges sin, but does so as a loving Father who wants us desire Him.