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Unmasking Shame (2 of 6)

Mike Connell

Page 2 of 10
So let's have a look first of all at the entrance of shame, Genesis, Chapter 2, Verse 25. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Okay, now Chapter 3; Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: has God indeed said you shall not eat every fruit of the tree? And the woman said to the serpent: we may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said you shall not eat it, nor touch it, lest you die. [Laughs] The serpent said to the woman: you won't die. God knows in the day you eat, your eyes will be opened - partial truth - you'll be like God - not true - knowing good and evil - true. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and was desirable for the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. And she gave to her husband with her - I've often wondered why Adam never spoke up when all of this was going on, the silent husband.

And he ate, went along with it, went along with his wife's plan. Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Then they heard the sound of the Lord God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God, among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said: where are you? - not meaning He didn't know where he was. He's trying to get him to come out into the open and enter relationship, but he's so cloaked with shame he said: I heard Your voice in the garden. I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. And the Lord said: who said you were naked? Who told you? Have you eaten the fruit of the tree?

So we see here the entrance of shame. Sin introduced two or three new emotions; here's the first. Sin introduced a deep sense of guilt, followed by a sense of shame, followed by fear. Sin brought it in. That's the entrance of shame, and of course sin continues to keep it there. Some families get so full of shame, that it literally travels from one generation to another. Cultures can be full of shame, organisations can be full of shame, relationships can be full of shame - but shame entered firstly here as a result of sin. So when they sinned, they broke the boundaries God had set them, and immediately something left them. You see when they sinned they became separated from God who was the source of identity. Now think about this: if God was the source of our identity and we become separated, we've got to find it somewhere else. The answer truly is in not finding it somewhere else. The answer is in finding our relationship with God again, so sin caused a breach. The Bible says: all have sinned, and when Adam and Eve sinned, not just was their relationship broken and their intimacy broken, but something departed from them which they previously had. It was called glory. It was goodness. It was a manifestation of the life of God upon them, that allowed them to live free of shame.

Now as soon as that left them, suddenly they became conscious of themselves. That's the first thing that shame does; it causes us to become focussed inward on ourself. We become aware of ourselves, and of course the problem with sin is that all have sinned - notice what the Bible says - all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God. Let me put it another way. All of us enter this world with a broken relationship with God, and we don't carry the glory of God on our life. We're aware we're somehow lacking, and so we're vulnerable to being shamed. It's the condition of every person, so notice it says: the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew. That word 'knew' means to be intimately acquainted, or to experience something, so as soon as they both sinned, immediately they had an experience inside. They became conscious of something they never were conscious of before. It was a feeling they had. It was a bad, bad feeling, and notice what it says in Verse 10. He says: I was afraid. He was filled with fear - we're going to look at this in a moment.