Shame, The #1 Community Killer (Part II)
Text: Genesis 3:1-13, 21 | Listen to Message
Trading Dishonor for Honor
In Part I, we talked about what shame is and where it leads if you don’t respond to it in a healthy way. Honestly, Part I was pretty discouraging – and was never meant to be read as a standalone piece. While it helps explain the world we find ourselves in, it doesn’t show us the way out of our pain. That’s what Part II is for!
Immediately after Adam and Eve fell into sin and shame in Genesis 3, God gave us a little hint about the ultimate solution to both. Verse 21 says, “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
Notice a couple things here:
First, God is essentially saying, “Your fig leaves will never do. Let me cover you.” God Himself would be the source of something that would cover our shame.
But, secondly, note what God covers them with: the skins of animals. What that means, plain and simple, is something innocent had to die to cover their shame.
We’ll recognize in hindsight that Genesis 3:21 was pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. He would be the innocent party killed to cover our shame.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake He [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Notice Scripture doesn’t say Jesus was punished for doing sinful things. He didn’t. It says he was made to be sin.
Here’s the point. Your shame crushes and condemns you by telling you, “You are a terrible spouse, a terrible parent, a terrible child, a terrible friend, a terrible person! You are worthless! You’re a failure!” And Jesus comes along and says, “Yes, you’re a great sinner, but I’m a greater Savior. I bore your shame and reproach to give you my blessing and honor. Believe in me, and you are not defined by the shameful things you’ve done, nor by the shameful things that have been done to you.”
But it gets even better! Not only are you legally, objectively made innocent in Christ, you are also loved. And isn’t that what we need, existentially, to be rid of our shame – to know that we’re known completely and loved unconditionally?
See, to be loved but not known is terrifying and tenuous. And to be known but not loved is devastating. But the Gospel speaks directly to our shame and fear, and says, “You are known exhaustively and loved completely.” Jesus knows every shameful thing about you and he loves you anyway.
So let your shame drive you, not into isolation, self-justification, and blame, but to the Cross of Christ. Lose the fig leaves that say to Jesus, “I don’t trust you to cover me.” Walk your shame out into the Light. And be free.