When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the very first thing that entered their hearts was shame (Genesis 3:7). Shame immediately persuaded them to hide from God and sew fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. Where there was once freedom and relationship, shame displaced with feelings of fear and separation. God knew exactly what they had done, but he walked in the garden seeking relationship as usual. “Where are you,” He asked. It was mankind that turned from God, he did not turn from us.
Shame has a funny way of convincing us to disconnect with the only One who can truly heal our hearts. Where shame enters in, we tend to shut out God, shut out others, and suffer silently. We were never meant to live this way. But the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus came to restore back to us what we lost in the garden that day. He came to restore our oneness with God and make us fully alive in him. “He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14). His victory on the cross stripped darkness of all its power over us (Col. 2:15). We are given a new nature in Christ, and shame has no place in it. We can walk transparently and openly with a God who loves to restore all things. He sees us as we are and we cannot hide from him even if we try. But our hearts can be assured that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1).
Our vulnerability with God is precious to him. In his presence we are safe to lay down our masks, our facades, and the put-together version of ourselves. Psalm 62:8 says, “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” He loves us as we are in every stage and every season. He will fight for connection with you no matter what you’ve done or what you’re hiding. He is the healer, he is the redeemer, and he is interested in radically restoring your life. We have a God who lifts us from the garbage dump of our lives and sets us among princes, placing us in seats of honor (1 Sam. 2:8). He isn’t intimidated by our sin, our messiness, or our shame. Instead, he chooses to wash our feet in the middle of our mess. His ways are much different than the ways of this world, and I am so thankful.
Shame can only exist in our lives if we give it permission to. Jesus sent shame running 2,000 years ago. Yes, it will come knocking on the door of our hearts. Don’t open the door. If we say yes and choose to cohabitate with shame, isn’t that an insult to the cross of Christ and the freedom he died to give us? Are there any areas in your life where God might be saying, “Where are you”? He wants relationship. He is bringing hope to those places. He is bringing love and redemption. Vulnerability is the key to transformational healing. We should rally around people with a healing love that stops shame right in its tracks.
God, thank you for restoring us back to our original design! We ask that you would light up any shadow in us that we have kept hidden from you. We open wide our hearts to your love. We want nothing less than the full redemption that Jesus came to give us. You are the Shepherd of our souls and we trust in your goodness. Help us to lead lives of transparency and union with you. We want to value connection the same way you do.