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Shame

Posted by Rocky Hernandez on

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
— Psalm 51:9

And 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.
— Genesis 3:8

Adam and Eve sinned. By eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they did the one thing that God asked them not to do. After being deceived, they decided that what they wanted more than a relationship with God was to be more like God.

After committing this sin, they didn’t feel like God. They didn’t feel more connected to God. They felt shame. They were suddenly very aware of how unlike God they were, and they hid from each other by covering themselves with fig leaves.

The number one thing that sin does is make relationships difficult. It produces the desire not to be comfortable with who we are, and often the result of that is to hide bits and pieces of who we are from others around us. Shame is a terrible feeling because it is based on fear and rejection. If it produces this in human relationships with people who are just as broken as we are, imagine what it will be like to face a perfect and Holy God. Our instinct will likely be to hide, which is precisely what Adam and Eve do. They conceal themselves from the Lord.

It’s interesting because they do not seek forgiveness from God. They are not looking for mercy. Perhaps they didn’t quite understand at that point what was a stake. John Calvin writes: “they are ashamed of their nakedness, yet, though convinced, they do not humble themselves before God, nor fear his judgments as they ought; they even do not cease to resort to evasions.”

David experiences this shame when confronting his sin. He asks God to turn his face away from him. But unlike Adam and Eve, he also asks God to blot out all his iniquity. We can do the same.

When you sin, do you allow your shame to propel you into hiding or justification like Adam and Eve? Or do you cling to God’s mercy like David? Today I want to challenge you to lean into God’s mercy because, unlike Adam, Eve, and David, you live in Christ’s grace, and he offers forgiveness freely, even before you ask.

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