Yitzhak crossed his arms, covering his naked body from the waist up. He did this after I’ve removed the juice-smeared t-shirt off his 3-year-old frame.
Is it a deliberate act? is my toddler aware of his nakedness? Or is it one of his many cute antics’?
Shame. We all have them. It’s an age-old problem that plagued humanity since the beginning of time. It started in a garden when our first parents made the biggest error in the annals of human history. It happened when they partook of the wrong tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
From that moment forward, the world fell apart. Yes, Adam and Eve’s disobedience afflicted all of humanity, not just theirs. It changed our destiny down through every baby born at present.
If we look up Genesis 2:25, we will see that both were naked when they were created, but never once did they feel ashamed until they disobeyed. Something shifted. Immediately, as they ingest the juicy flesh from that forbidden tree, their eyes were opened, they felt exposed and went into hiding.
God called, “Adam where are you.”
The man responded, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
I wanted to ask my 3-year-old the same question God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:8-11)
The moment we gain awareness of good and evil, we also gain awareness of our nakedness.
When was the last time you feel ashamed for something you shouldn’t have done? Perhaps it wasn’t intentional. It was a relapse, a slip in the tongue, an uncharacteristic reaction due to strong emotions.
As a parent, this may come in the form of disapproving looks when your child throws a tantrum in public. Or when an assertive family member hammers away their methods on how to raise your children. Or when an acquaintance or friend gloats about their parental achievements.
At work, it is when your boss scolds you in front of the others, unhappy with the results you’ve delivered. Or when you gave an unsatisfactory answer to questions raised during a presentation and your audience shook their heads in disapproval.
This could also concern your affiliations with certain groups in the community, despised by some family members and friends.
Can you remember how you responded?
Our son did it by covering his torso with his arms. Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together, making themselves loincloths. Us? We have our own makeshift methods too.
Sometimes, we do it by shutting down or shutting up, wrapping our weaknesses in the dark. Another is making futile justifications. We regress, take back what had been said so others wouldn’t think negatively of us, appease their disapproving sensitivities. Or we may lie our way to conceal our shame, misleading outsiders but never fooling ourselves.
How should we respond?
Let’s look at what God did in Genesis 3:21, The Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.
God knew our methods wouldn’t work. I knew my son’s arms wouldn’t adequately cover the entirety of his body. So God clothed them. So I grabbed a clean t-shirt and put it on my son.
Allowing someone else to clothe you is a picture of a humble heart. Imagine my son refusing to wear the clean t-shirt, insisting his arms are enough to cover his nakedness. Don’t we think that folly?
We have to acknowledge our frailties, our humaneness, and expose it to the light so God can heal us.
Of course, it’s not easy to share our vulnerabilities.
Are you part of a group where you can open up without judgment? Do you have someone you can trust, who wouldn’t shut you down and say, “That’s nothing!.” negating your feelings, leaving you unheard? If not, find that person. (It could be your spouse or a close friend.) Look for that group.
As we let go of our flimsy methods while allowing God’s healing to clothe us, this frees us from the unnecessary struggles, and from the shame that keeps us back into hiding.
Here’s the thing though. This shame issue will continue to plague us on this side of living. No one is immune. Over and over, when we find ourselves entangled with this problem, just remember,
Nakedness maybe a curse, but God is ever ready to clothe me. Thus,
PS: photo source