New Clothes: The Problem with Shame

June 5, 2012 — 3 Comments

What you are about to read is an excerpt from my forthcoming book. I would love your feedback. 

The problem with shame is that it always makes me feel like God is really angry or disappointed with me. When I sin, I don’t move towards God. I’m just a duplication of Adam and Eve, hiding in whatever tree I can find so that I don’t have to deal with how bad I feel. This time, I feel like I’ve gone too far. Like God won’t forgive me this time, or maybe He can’t forgive me. Sure, He can forgive you and everyone else. But not me. I’ve gone too far. I’ve messed up too much. What does God want, though? Remember what he asked?

“Where are you?” Genesis 3:9.

Almost like God isn’t scared by their sin. Nor is he scared to be in the presence of their sinful nature. God is fully present right after they walk away from Him. He wants to know where you are. And really, do we think God doesn’t know where they are? He knows exactly where they are. He is God. Adam responds and says,

“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:10

 Our own nakedness causes fear. I was afraid. And this is the first time we ever have a record of someone being afraid.

I was afraid. 

I was naked.

So I hid.

But do you notice the tense of the verbs. Adam isn’t naked anymore. He’s wearing fig leaves, but he’s still hiding scared. Why is he scared? Because even though Adam isn’t naked, he is naked. He can feel just how naked he is now that his connection with God is broken. Now that his innocence is lost. Now that he has chosen not to trust God. That’s what this is all about, right? The moment Adam stopped trusting God is the moment that his life as given to him by God began to end. There would now be a beginning and end to Adam. Before, this, there was only a beginning.

Now, God went on from this moment to describe the consequences of their disobedience. Then, there is this beautiful little verse.

 “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21

 Right after God gave them the consequences of their sin, He made them clothes. Read into the text for just a moment. Where did God find the garments of skin for them? Adam and Eve were the only people living, so he must have found some animals. He sacrificed some of his creation for them. God cares about the people He created in His image enough that He will kill his own creation so that they won’t feel ashamed. So that they will know He still cares about them. Because God still wants to be with them.

God clothes you, because God wants to be with you. It isn’t for God’s comfort that we wear clothes. It is for ours. God loves us for who we are. God loves every ounce of skin on us, the organs inside us, and most importantly the soul within us. God is crazy about you, and God clothes you in His own righteousness through Christ. God despises shame, so He gives us new clothes. When we’re dressed, we feel more comfortable around God. Truly, God is with us when we look and feel dressed up, and when there’s nothing left to us. When we are desolate. Or when we are confident before Him because of His grace, and stand before God dressed in his righteousness, naked and unashamed.

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3 responses to New Clothes: The Problem with Shame

  1. 

    Great stuff! You have really developed as a writer and I am eagerly anticipating reading your book. You almost always make me think deeply about my faith and my relationship with God and people. Keep writing!

    Matt

  2. 
    Betty Pfalzgraf June 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Dave, that is very thought provoking. Here is a thought that came to mind as I read “Adam wasn’t naked anymore – he had covered himself with fig leaves – this reminds me of the Emperor and his new clothes. He thought he was clothed just as we think we are with our excuses. Unless God clothes me, I am not covered… A. Betty

  3. 

    Matt, thanks! Hearing that from you is quite encouraging.

    Betty, I like the thoughts. Thanks for jumping on here and sharing.

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