“Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:7
In the course of time, I have realized that I never have a straight forward answer to people who inquire about my ethnicity. There is a shame somewhere in my heart of not being like the ancestors – descending from the same bloodline. There are normally two things that I do in response: either I try to prove I am alike even though my profile is not or I hastily say that there is no such thing in order to deprecate the existence of ethnicity. If you weigh my both responses, you will find how strongly I struggle with the shame and want to cover up by any means. And distressingly, I am not alone! Whether you believer it or not, everyone struggles with a shame and ironically is capable of formulating new ways to cover it up just like me.
God never created us with a shame. But, as soon as Adam and Eve violated God’s command, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” The Bible says, “..they knew they were naked.” It was not merely seeing each other naked and saying, oops! It was greatly intense and devastating, because they fell in the state where they never belonged to due to their rebellious act. (C.S. Lewis’ idea.) As a result, they started hiding from God when He visited them. They were absolutely ashamed of their poignant situation. His creation can live with dignity only with Him but now they were not with Him and so were we once.
Then what happened? They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Here we can see their strong desire that resulted in active action to live with dignity again, however, sadly not the way God intended. They acted out to cover their shame as though they can do it on their own, but they never realized the gravity of shame they had brought upon them.
Today, we, in fact, do the same thing what they did to cover our shame. We sew fig leaves to make coverings for ourselves. We do so either by doing good works inside the church in order to feel good about ourselves and preserve our dignity or totally denouncing the existence of God, so that I may not feel shame of my lifestyle. However, the Bible makes it clear that either way is not going to help us at all! Then, is there any other way around at all?
Our God never wants to see us living with shame forever and knows, at the same time, that we can never restore ourselves to dignity. He, therefore, sent His son to restore us back to Him, so we can live with dignity. Now, we just need to put our faith in Jesus Christ who was stripped of his robe, became nude on the cross and whose shame was exposed to the whole world so that our shame is covered once but forever.
So the real question is: Do we want to believe in Christ and live with dignity or ever find ourselves in the shame treadmill? Choice is yours!
The author is a M.Div student in Calvin Theological Seminary. You may follow him in his Facebook page.
- Grace for both, Found and Lost! (cafn.us)