By Miriam Rossow
‘And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.’ Genesis 2:25
And they all lived happily ever after. NOT! The very next verse we are introduced to the serpent and from Genesis 3 on we live in a broken world. Thanks alot! Adam and Eve hide from the Lord because of their nakedness. They are now ashamed and aware of their unworthiness to be with God.
Hiding when you do something wrong is a natural response. We think, ‘If they can’t find me then they can’t punish me.’ But does this really work? Is this really what we are meant to do, hide?
I remember as a young tween I went with some friends somewhere that I probably should not have gone. I don’t even remember where we went or that I was told not to go or how we got there since none of us could drive! What I do remember is the feeling of guilt. I remember hiding in the bathroom so my parents couldn’t find me and thus ask me any questions and thus punish me.
I find it interesting that I don’t remember the actual misdeed. I only remember hiding and the guilt. I don’t even remember if I got punished afterwards. (This could be a symptom of my bad memory.) Did I really think I was going to be able to hide in the bathroom for a long enough period of time that my parents wouldn’t find me? And doesn’t it seem as though my hiding would just bring up more questions and point to my guilt?
‘Then the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. … and the man and the wife hid themselves from the LORD among the trees of the garden.’ Genesis 3:7-8
After Adam and Eve ate the fruit their eyes were opened. They were aware of their mistake. They were aware that they had disobeyed. They were aware that they had not shown love and honor and trust rather they showed that they wanted more than they were given, even though they had been given everything and more than they needed. They tried to cover themselves and their nakedness and they tried to hide.
They tried to cover themselves and their nakedness and they tried to hide.
My eyes were opened to my brokenness and I felt shame and guilt, not particularly for the wrong act, but because I knew I had done something wrong. I had done something that would break the relationship I had with my parents. I wanted to hide and try to cover up my wrong doing. In reality all I did was point to my guilt and shame.
God called to the man and said,’Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
The calling to Adam was not for God’s sake, rather for Adam. Guilt and shame were now part of our human experience. The perfect garden that we were created to walk in was broken. Adam and Eve were hiding in the brokenness from their brokenness. I am sure they wished they could go back and do it again. I can imagine that the grief of what they had done was almost unbearable. And so they hid. They hid and tried to cover themselves. They needed to figure out how they would fix this horrible problem that they had created.
When I was hiding in the bathroom I knew I had made a bad choice. I wanted to figure out how I could get out of the trouble. I wanted to hide the truth and cover my mistake. I wanted to figure out how to fix the problem and I certainly remember wishing I had made a different choice. But like Adam and Eve the choice was made. The deed and wrongdoing were done and now all I could do was hide and try and cover up my mistake.
God called to Adam and Eve and invited them to come out in the open. God was not OK leaving them in their mess, hiding, and poorly covered. His call to them was not to yell in condemnation and shame and leave them in their mess. God does not hide or cover their mistake or ours. He does not say ‘it’s OK there are no consequences’. He had warned them earlier what would happen if they ate of that tree, death. And death is certainly part of our world. We see death in our bodies and in our relationships. We see death in our homes and all over nature. Death is part of our life and is the consequence of this wrongdoing.
God calls, ‘Where are you?’ This call is an invitation to come out of hiding. It is a call to come bring our shame in front of truth and to receive love. The call is not meant to add shame. The call is a way to confront shame and guilt in the presence of the One who can forgive and wipe away the shame and guilt.
The call is a way to confront shame and guilt in the presence of the One who can forgive and wipe away the shame and guilt.
As I said I don’t remember the consequence, so clearly not the same. However, when I was called out I was not left in my shame and guilt. I was not left alone to figure out how to fix the problem. Otherwise, I would still be in the bathroom! I was called out to admit my wrongdoing and to trust that the love my parents had for me was bigger than this mistake. They were calling me out and giving me the gift of confronting the truth in the knowledge of love and forgiveness. Maybe that is why I don’t remember the consequence clearly. The consequence was natural. The love and forgiveness were super-natural.
We can certainly think of times in our lives where we have made a mistake. We can certainly think of times in others lives where they have made a mistake. And those mistakes, ours and theirs, have consequences; broken relationships, broken bodies, and broken emotions. There is shame and guilt when we know we have done something wrong. That is part of following Adam and Eve and being in their likeness. (see Genesis 5:3)
God was NOT OK leaving Adam and Eve in their guilt and shame. God is NOT ok leaving us hiding and ashamed. He calls to us to forgive us. He calls to us to connect us to each other. He calls to us to bring us out of our shame. He calls to us to clothe and cover us in a sacrifice. And the church is a place for people to receive this from God.
So often we hide from and in the church. We feel shame and guilt when we don’t have it all together. We don’t want to admit that we are broken as a church and as a people. The church(as a people) is a place where we hear God call, ‘Where are you?’ The church (as a people) is a place where we should be invited to lay down our shame and guilt. The church is not a place to hide and try and cover our nakedness rather a place to be open and honest with each other that we are broken and in need of love, forgiveness, and hope.
Hear God call to you in love, Where are you? In Genesis 3:14-15 we hear God’s promise of punishment on Satan and promise of hope, love, and forgiveness for us. In Jesus, God calls us out of our shame and guilt. He calls us to be unashamed and naked in His love!
Where are you?
He calls to us to forgive us. He calls to us to connect us to each other. He calls to us to bring us out of our shame. He calls to us to clothe and cover us in a sacrifice.
Another opportunity to find ways to have honest and open conversations in your home and marriage is at Shalom in the Home on March 17&18. How is Jesus calling to you and inviting you to come out of hiding and experience His love and forgiveness through His people?