Shame is a very uncomfortable feeling. We don’t want anybody to see us when we feel ashamed. So, we hide. Hiding is a coping mechanism as long as there have been people. We read about this behavior in the oldest story of the Good Book: Adam and Eve’s attempt to hide from the Lord in Paradise after having eaten the one fruit in the Garden they were not supposed to touch. I believe the ensuing conversation between the Lord and mankind’s first couple is worth paying attention to. Here it is, in Genesis 3:8-13:
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Ever since I read this piece of Scripture quoted above I was wondering what would have happened if Adam and Eve had admitted to the truth – instead of hiding behind fig leaves and shifting the blame. Maybe God had them exiled from Paradise anyway, but of course we don’t know that for sure. What we do know (after looking at the outcome of this unhappy conversation), hiding from the Lord simply does not work. Outside of Eden, things quickly went from bad to worse causing a deep rift between the Lord and mankind, a rift that only Jesus was going to be able to heal.
Before the expulsion from Paradise, God related the consequences of their sin to the serpent, the woman and the man. Addressing the serpent first, the Lord said (Genesis 3:15):
“And I will put enmity
between you [the serpent] and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
As our rainbow of hope, Jesus was announced in the same moment when God pronounced His judgment. The Son of God was going to step on the serpent’s skull. And by crushing the serpent’s head Jesus addresses the root of all evil, namely the lying, the blaming and the hiding.
It is a good thing that we cannot hide from the Lord. The Lord brings everything to light – not to shame or blame us, but to set things right. If we put our cards on the table and ask God for His help, He will have mercy on each and every one of us. The Lord fixes what is broken and sets us on the path to righteousness. Righteousness is something we hunger and thirst for ever since we lost Paradise so many years ago. We can make things right when we turn to the Lord and discontinue hiding behind fig leaves. Adam and Eve are the first to tell us that fig leaves are unsuitable means for cover up.
The only sane course of action after the damage is done is to step out in the open and confess to the Lord. His forgiveness is our way to peace.
Let the healing begin.