Shame. We’re all acquainted with this pit in our stomach; we’ve felt and been forced into shame since before we knew how to spell our names. Guilt. The anxious feeling that we need to hide so we aren’t exposed and embarrassed. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I sneaked a pack of gum into my pocket at the grocery store, and I hid it and hid myself in the dark under the bed until my mom found me (thanks to a sibling’s tattletale) and took me back to the store to make it right. The weight of shame has been felt since shortly after the world began. Read this account of guilt and shame from Genesis 3:
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. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
One of the outcomes of the garden sin was exposure. The man and woman’s eyes were “opened” and they instantly realized they were naked and felt shame. A few verses later in Genesis 3, God asks the man and woman for an explanation and they blame each other. As a consequence, their relationship becomes distorted.
But pay attention, Adam and Eve try to make coverings for themselves out of fig leaves—not very sustainable or comfortable—and God sacrifices the first animal on their behalf to make garments to cover them. He, out of his great grace, covered them in their shame at the cost of an animal’s life. The first intimation of the Savior, as promised in Genesis 3:15, “He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” This speaks of Jesus who will overcome Satan and sin through his death on the cross. He is love, GREAT love.
Before Adam and Eve started to realize the full weight of the introduction of sin into the world, God was already making it right on his own dime. Much later on, Jesus would enter the scene as the perfect, once-and-for-all sacrifice that would fully and forever cover all of our sins for all eternity. Shame will be eradicated and guilt will be washed completely away in the priceless, weighty offering of Jesus’ own perfect life, to fully cover our shame by clothing us in HIS righteousness (Phil. 3:8,9).
But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise. Galatians 3:25-27 (The MESSAGE)
While we wait for that day, let us live into the reality that this process has already been set in motion. We don’t have to hide any longer. BUT, as we renounce (disassociate ourselves with) the works of darkness, let us be clothed by Christ’s righteousness (Eph. 5:11; Rom. 13:12). Also 1 John 1:9 reads, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
How are you hiding from God in shame today? As we enter into this Easter season, let’s prioritize listening to and responding as God calls to us in lovingkindness and grace, “My son/daughter, where are you?”