Shame vs Humility Genesis 3:7-11
Last night I attended Woodland Hills Church Wednesday night activities. Lots of Biblical considerations and networking happening there. The class I went to was entitled MAKING SENSE OF THE BIBLE and the intent was to exam some of the areas in the Word that causes confusion and debate. We spent most of our time in the early chapters of Genesis and, as you’d imagine, “making sense” of the Biblical narrative of the creation story took a bulk of the time.
The section I want to zero in on today is found in Genesis 3:7-11–another well-known part regarding the fall through the eating of the forbidden fruit. There are a bunch of different directions we can take here as we consider this story, but I want to zero into two things that really struck me as we reviewed it. So you know the section of the story that struck me, I’ve posted it below.
Point one, and most important to me, God was seeking Adam and Eve AFTER they had sinned. God knew what happened and yet He sought after them. Many times, and I don’t know why this is, we are told over and over our sin separates us from God.
While that maybe so, I am NOT going to debate a theological theory, we see time and again witnessed in the text of the Bible, and in our own lives, that God is trying to meet us even in our sin. He loves you. He love me. He loves all us of enough to get messy with us. Please do not ever feel that God won’t meet you wherever you are because He will. He’ll find your naked self, hiding behind a tree, trying your best to cover up. He is coming after you with all His love and mercy. You need not be afraid or ashamed.
This then brings me to the second point, shame versus humility. To me, humility is the proper ordering of things. For me to see myself in the right relationship to God and to other people. The Bible tells us how this should be, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10:27) In simple terms, God first, others second, and then me last. I am third.
This is a tough one. Good gravy, is it. I like to get trapped into my own selfish perspective. Heck, I live there most times. So much so that humility became my word of this year. My focus—my consideration—my development, hopefully, to a more humble perspective, and this is why our discussion of this section of the Bible was so revolutionary to me yesterday.
When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, shame entered the world because their focus fell on themselves. They became selfish. Consider this, and this was the profound thing our instructor shared last night, if I have my focus as it should be, on God and others, I care not for my circumstance at ALL. I can stand here naked because all my energy is focused outside myself and how I am, what I am doing, my current status doesn’t matter in that space because ALL energy and thought is taken from me and placed outside myself.
Wow, right? It was so profound, I am still trying to wrap my brain around it and I hope I communicated it the concept to you in a way that helps you to see it. So, this is the BIG idea—the wrap up for both points—God loves us so much He’s working to meet us wherever we are—LOVE, LOVE, LOVE—when we are centered into true love, love of God, others, and all things, we are prepared to meet Him. Shame does not exist there. Leave that baggage behind and get naked. (Figuratively…please. LOL!)
Dearest Heavenly Father, we love because You first loved us. You showed us the way and we can meet You with arms open and hearts wide anytime. We need not hide. We need not feel ashamed. You are there for us no matter our circumstance and I pray, Lord, that all those hurting reach out to you today. In Your Mighty and Holy name…
Genesis 3:7-11 (NIV)
7 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.
8 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. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”