One of the most powerful and destructive tools of the enemy used to keep people trapped in bondage is shame. Shame has been around since the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:25, an interesting statement is made: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Interesting, because it is the first mention of shame in Scripture. It seems evident that God clearly wanted to highlight this fact to us. Not only does nakedness refer to their physical state of being without clothes, but I believe it can also refer to their total emotional vulnerability. There were no barriers to intimacy between them, or in their relationship to their Creator. They had nothing to hide, no fear of being exposed, no reason to withdraw or withhold themselves from one another. What a contrast to our lives today!
By the time we get to Chapter 3, verse 7, things have changed dramatically. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and the first of many results occurred immediately: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Although both verses contain the word “naked” in English, in the Hebrew, two different words are used. The first one, found in 2:25, means to be without clothes. The second one, in 3:7, comes from a root word meaning crafty, subtle, or shrewd. I believe this is referring to their sense of wrongdoing, not just their physical state. Suddenly, they went from a state of perfect bliss, joy, and peace with one another and with God, to feeling something completely foreign to them – shame – that arose from their disobedience. In an instant, everything was distorted, corrupted, and perverted. Today, the enemy still uses this powerful weapon against God’s people.
Shame lies to us and tells us we are defective, flawed, evil, and shameful. There must be something wrong with us, it whispers in our ear. No matter how much we feel we are living to please God, one perceived wrong word, thought, or deed, and it rears its ugly head again to beat us down. Not only does it lie to us to try to steal our identity, it also convinces us that we must hide the so-called “truth” of our shamefulness from others, or we will surely be rejected, abandoned, criticized, judged, etc. Those who fall for the lies, therefore, are afraid to share their struggles with those who could help them get free. Instead, we turn to control to protect us from further pain, by wearing a mask, withdrawing, isolating, putting up walls, and other ungodly behaviors rather than taking that risk.
The truth is, we have all sinned and fallen short of what God intended us to be. We’ve all made mistakes, done stupid things we’re ashamed of, and made choices we now regret. We are all equally in need of Jesus’ blood, shed at the cross. No one sin is greater or worse than another. God knew all of this before any of us were ever created. He could have chosen not to go through with His plans. He could have decided to create beings that were programmed to obey Him perfectly. He could have elected to exist for all eternity within His own triune nature, with perfect love and harmony between Father, Son, and Spirit. But He didn’t!
Knowing all that mankind would do, He chose to make us His very own sons and daughters. He willingly agreed to pay the highest price possible to deliver us from all shame, guilt, and condemnation – and every other work of the devil! If you struggle with sin and shame, how much longer will you allow the enemy to torment and steal from you? Help is available, and freedom is your inheritance as a beloved son or daughter. Jesus already paid the price, and He deserves to receive the reward of His suffering – you!