In the beginning, before sin was in the world, Adam and Eve lived happily in the Garden of Eden where we are told they were “naked and felt no shame.” (Gen. 2:25) But when they disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, the first thing they noticed is that they were uncovered. When they heard God coming, they were afraid to be naked in front of him so they hid. (Gen. 3:7-10).
I have always thought that the biggest loss they experienced was their utterly genuine relationship with God. I also think the biggest barrier we have with God, as well as with each other, is the one we put up in ourselves in order to stay hidden, and supposedly protected.
I’ve never found shame to do anything but make things much worse. It leads us to loneliness, dishonesty, and fear. It causes us to defend ourselves when no one is attacking. The craziness takes us on spiral downward, sometimes making us physically, as well as spiritually sick.
I know from counseling that it can take a long time to peel back all the protective layers so we can begin to find healing.
I see God as someone who tries hard to help us find our way back to our unfettered relationship with Him. He gave the Hebrews their sacrificial ceremonies and then gave his Son as the ultimate sacrifice so all of us could lay down our foolish walls, look fearlessly at ourselves, and make whatever changes need to be made.
And yet most of us continue to hide like Adam and Eve, isolated in shame while God waits for us to come out to resume our relationship.
It wouldn’t fix everything but if we could drop the shame we could make a giant leap of progress in the healing of our souls.