My son cut his thumb the other week while cleaning a can. The fact that he was cleaning his soup can…awesome. The fact that he cut himself…not so much. An ER visit and 4 stitches later, he is healing well. While living in the age of Facebook, I decided to post this news as I knew the world would want to know about this tragic event in the Jacoby household. However, I later learned that my son did not want such information posted for the world to know. Thus began the great cover-up where I asked all who saw the post not to say anything to my son about the event or that they learned it from dad posting it on Facebook. Why the cover-up? So my son would not become mad at me. Did I do anything wrong? Not exactly as I didn’t know about his request until it was too late. Though perhaps I did do wrong while trying to cover up my actions…
Covering up is so natural (that is, in our sinful nature), isn’t it? It started with Adam & Eve covering themselves with fig leaves and hiding in a covering of bushes from God and it continues to this day. What is the purpose for the cover-up? To hide our embarrassment & shame. To avoid a punishment or consequence. For Adam & Eve, they were naked and unashamed, but as soon as they went against God, they felt the need to cover up. They were embarrassed. They were ashamed. They were naked before God and one another and they could not bear (bare) it.
Adam & Eve’s fig leaf clothing cover up was insufficient. What would happen after a day or two? Exactly. They would need a longer lasting covering for themselves. God knew this, and so in His love and mercy, He sacrificed an animal to use the garments of skin to cover up their sin, guilt, and shame…their nakedness. This was the first death recorded in Scripture and it was done by God providing the need for the covering of sin for Adam & Eve.
How often do we use our own fig leaves to cover up our guilt, shame, and sins? Our fig leaves of busyness, alcohol, food, entertainment, self-deprecation, and blame-shifting, to name a few, are insufficient. Even some of the mental health disorders that plague our society can be attributed to our inability to deal with sin, guilt, and shame.
Like He did in the garden, God provided a covering for our sin, guilt, and shame. He provided it through His Son, Jesus Christ. The first sacrificial death was for the covering of the sin of Adam & Eve. The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross was the last death needed for the covering of sin, guilt, and shame. The first sacrifice required Adam & Eve to put on the garments, the second sacrifice requires us to put on Christ by faith.
We can try to cover-up our sin, guilt, and shame, but in the end, our coverings will always fall short. However, when we accept the coverings provided by faith in Christ, our sins, guilt, and shame are no longer seen by God. Instead, when He sees us, He sees what we are covered by…He sees Christ. He sees Christ’s righteousness (not our sins), He sees the One who is innocent (not guilty), and He sees the One with whom He delights in (not shame). Yes, He sees Christ in us. May we accept His Son by faith and accept His covering for us through Christ!
For more information on overcoming shame through the gospel, read Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch.