What would it be like to live free from shame? Not in a way that denies the existence of the Lord’s commands, but in a way that receives the freedom of His mercy?
When I read those precious chapters at the very beginning of the Bible where the world and all its inhabitants were as they were meant to be, a little piece of me wants to pretend that the Bible only has two chapters. Ever.
God hung the stars, separated the waters, and created things so cool and intricate and beautiful our eyes can hardly make sense of them. I want to stay in that story—the part where God made Eve from the rib He had taken out of Adam and brought her to him as a helper… “and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25).
Not a stitch of shame. What a glorious time! In Genesis 2, Eve—”the mother of all the living”—was created in the image of God. Shame wasn’t even on her radar.
She wasn’t afraid to sing for fear someone might hear her. She wasn’t ashamed of her teeth or her accent or the shape of her toes. She may have been a size 2 or 22, with green eyes and curly hair or brown eyes and straight hair. However Eve looked, she certainly wasn’t ashamed of it! Eve liked her smile and her nose and her forehead. She loved her voice and her jokes, and she walked around Eden with Adam, unashamed and at peace with her Maker.
Then along comes Chapter 3, and it takes all the air out of my balloon. We know it’s coming. We know it’s not a surprise to God. But we also know it’s the chapter in the story of God and Man where sin makes its debut. In disobedience, Adam and Eve sought to become like God. They made the decision that who they were was not enough—they wanted more. With their sin came shame. And when shame moved in, it brought all its baggage with it.
Genesis 3:7 says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked,” so they made a covering for themselves to hide their nakedness. But all the fig leaves in Eden wouldn’t hide the sin in their souls. Adam and Eve were ashamed to be seen by God—they were ashamed of their sin.
Shame is a powerful force. Like Satan himself, it tells us all kinds of lies. But isn’t it interesting: Satan has a way of making us feel less ashamed of our sin (the thing that separates us from God), and more ashamed of ourselves (the thing that links us to Him).
When we face the world, we are ashamed of our image, God-given though it is.
And when we face God, we are ashamed of our sin.
Shame is a double-headed monster from which there seems to be no escape. No wonder Eve wanted to hide!
But God has such good news for us today: There is a cure! A cure for shame of all kinds and for all time! We can call off the impossible search for a fig leaf large enough to hide our sin and shame from God. Adam and Eve let shame in the door, but Jesus bore the shame of the whole world—including our Eve’s!—on the cross and took it to the grave with Him. He defeated sin and shame and death itself so we can be presented blameless and unashamed to the Father.
The prophet Joel told of a time when God’s people would never again be put to shame. Isaiah promised a sinless and shameless Man who would come to bear our iniquities and transgressions. Jesus closed the door on shame and opened the door to repentance and freedom!
Yes, yes—we still absolutely need to cover our bodies in modesty—so everyone keep your clothes on! But sisters, hear this and never forget it: The door has been closed on shame for good. You never need to hide from God. Repent and believe and be free from all the lies the world will tell you about not being smart enough or pretty enough, good enough or clean enough. No sin or even a lifetime of sin excludes us from the freedom the Cross of Jesus affords. Yes, we are undeserving of God’s rich mercy, but Jesus makes us deserving. His goodness alone makes us good enough.
Eve was the mother of all the living. And Jesus freed Eve from shame, along with all her sons and daughters. Let’s live as people who are FREE!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”