Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
Platforms and Loincloths: How Christ Can Heal Shame And Restore Lives
A long long time ago (we won’t debate specifics) existed the original “it” couple. No, not Jay-Z and Beyonce. Even farther back than Fred and Wilma. Their names: Adam and Eve. They lived in paradise: a God-made garden specifically designed to suit their needs and calling. God personally visited them for regular walk-and-talks. Oh, and there was no sin. But there was choice. And they mis-managed their choices and introduced the whole world (them, some animals and a bunch of trees) to sin. You might know the story.
And as Adam and Eve were introduced to sin, sin introduced them to his friend shame. They had never met before, but shame’s presence had a big impact on both of them, especially when it was time to be back in God’s presence.
First shame caused both Adam and Eve to cover up their nakedness. What was once designed to be enjoyed between the two of them became a source of embarrassment. And what was never a mystery to God was now being “hidden” from Him. (Ever try to hide things from God as if He doesn’t already know about them?… No? Oh ummmm, me neither.)
Next shame created platforms for each of them to shift blame off of themselves and point fingers at “the real problems”. They told God things like:
“This wife you gave me is a real temptress.”
“The devil, he’s real crafty guy, and before I knew it…”
But when the blame shifting subsided (and some consequences were dispersed), God set out to show them that His forgiveness is bigger than sin, and the covering He provides will silence shame.
Those moments where the certainty of what we say does not match the depth of painful questioning we have in private.
Those moments where the pain one person brought us evolves into accusations about all who resemble them, regardless of their innocence. Then we’re stuck trusting fewer and fewer people.
Yeah, those fig leafs. And those fig leafs become platforms through which we react and respond to life and people.
Sin and shame created these platforms. It could be the sin we committed. It could be the sin done toward you that is not so easily forgiven. But its sin and shame, nonetheless, that created these platforms. It existed before the internet, before the printing press, before the first woman gave birth to her first son. And we cannot walk ourselves down off that platform on our own with any more success than Adam and Eve’s fig leaf loin clothes could hide them from what they did in the garden.
We must allow God to cover our sin and shame. He crafted a “garment of skin” for Adam and Eve and he “clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). And He tells us to clothe ourself with Christ (Romans 13:14). It’s in Christ that we gain the humility to point the finger at ourselves, the vulnerability to say “I’m scared and I don’t know what to do” and the willingness to step off of our platforms and restore the relationships that were broken while we stood so willing to break them in order to save face.
Don’t let your platforms replace the identity that Christ has so willingly gave you.
Today is a good day to spend enough time in God’s presence that you’re willing to let go of what separates you from Him and from those who have been on the receiving end of the fig leaf walls you may have built up.
Clothe yourself in Christ.
Restore the relationships that have been broken.
-Pastor Cris Buck