In Genesis 2, God describes something that has always struck me with both awe and sadness; that Adam and Eve felt no shame. What would your life be like if you had never felt any shame? No memories of classroom humiliations, no abusive comments or actions about your worth, no fear of looking in the mirror, no burden of comparing your failures to the successes of your neighbor. The list for shame is miles long, and depending on your culture, shame could have even had the power to make you an outcast in society. Based on this passage, it may be safe to say that Adam and Eve were the only people in all of human history who knew what it felt like to be unashamed.
Sadly, after they had their first bite of shame, they quickly turned to their first solution: coverings. Since I understand shame all too well, it sometimes makes sense to me that Adam and Eve ran for cover. They started by sewing together some leaves, already hunched over with the weight of shame as they made the first human clothing. Since that day, humans have continued to create ways to cover their shame: we don’t talk about things; we lie or exaggerate; we minimize the hurts; we blame others; we abuse our fellow man; and sometimes we turn on ourselves in destructive ways. We may even cover ourselves under religious traditions or legalistic practices.
This new burden of shame must have caused some poor thinking. Adam and Eve knew the plants in the garden, some people believe they may have even named them. We know they ate stuff, so I’m sure they had some figs and must have touched a fig leaf before. So why would they choose to make coverings out of those leaves? Most people have an allergic reaction to fig leaves and end up with some kind of rash. Unless Adam and Eve were extremely small, they would have needed a lot of leaves to cover the essentials. These must have been one of the worst leaves for clothing. Which is exactly like all of our coverings: inadequate and hurtful.
I am so thankful that Jesus gave us a new covering: the cross. You may ask how something that was designed to cause painful shame could be a better covering than my fig leaves. It is not necessarily the wood in the cross that is able to cover, but the act of Jesus finishing the redemptive process needed to destroy the burden of shame. The day Jesus died on the cross was a very different day than the one where Adam and Eve became organic tailors. While as humans we run for the bushes and grab the first small itchy leaf we can find, Jesus took up the cross of our shame and carried it for us. He made a new way, where shame was taken away and replaced with His goodness.
We are so like Adam and Eve, but every day we have the chance to be like Jesus. Because of the good news of what Jesus did on the cross, I can declare like many of my fellow Christians that I am unashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God. We can take up the power of God and rely on His word. We can bring our shame into His light and let Him wash it all away. If you find shame is stifling your heart and mind I urge you to run for cover under the cross where there is no shame.
Serving with you,
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.