Embarrassment

It only takes a minute to confess your sin, but it takes a lifetime to cover it up.

Embarrassment.  Shame should produce embarrassment.  There is a cascading effect in our feelings and behavior when we commit a sin.  We feel shame and guilt then we begin to act embarrassed by the wrong we have done and then there is the cover-up that adds more sin to the original sin.  By lying or blaming someone else we dig ourselves into a bigger hole than we were previously by the original sin.

Embarrassment. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8).  We can look at this and realize how ridiculous this was.   The man and the woman hid themselves from the Creator of the universe who is omnipresent.  Did they really think they were hiding from God?  They were embarrassed, so they covered their nakedness and tried to hide the fact that they had sinned against God.  In their embarrassment, they were essentially admitting their guilt.

Embarrassment.  The woman and the man hid themselves from the presence of God amongst the trees that God Himself had created.  When sin enters our lives we can try to hide behind any number of things, and this works for a season with the people in our lives but it never works with God.  We can never run or hide from God.  He is omniscient, He knows all; and He is omnipresent, He is everywhere.  We may be able to cover our embarrassment with good works or fancy words, but when faced with the “presence of God” we cannot hide our sin.

Embarrassment.  When the embarrassment begins to subside, and the sin is not dealt with through confession to God and the people involved, then hardness begins to take place. God has given each person a conscience so that when we sin our conscience is pricked and we feel guilt and embarrassed by our sinful actions. If we choose to ignore these feelings our heart begins to harden and we no longer feel guilt and embarrassment over the little things, but rather we feel freed to commit “bigger” sins.

Embarrassment.  We may be embarrassed and try to hide our sin, but God does not give up on us especially if we are one of His children.  “The Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9).  Since God is omnipresent, God knew where the man and the woman were.  As a parent, we do the same the thing with our children.  We know the truth, we are trying to get our children to admit their guilt.  In admitting their wrong themselves, they become a stronger person realizing that “sin will surely find you out.”  (Numbers 32:23).  God knew where the man and the woman were and He already knew what they had done.  The embarrassment they felt was based on their guilt.  Wrong committed produces a shame and guilt that leads to embarrassment and a desire to cover over the offence.  God wants the truth exposed.  As long as the guilt is covered, it will fester and grow causing more problems and greater guilt. You must admit your sin, and be free from the shame and embarrassment.  It only takes a minute to confess your sin, but it takes a lifetime to cover it up.

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Shame

Shame.  What causes you to want to run to the bathroom and hide your face or run to your bedroom and put your head under your pillow?  What comment have you made or action have you done that causes you shame and you wish you could undo the words or actions and take away the pain or impact it has had on those around you?

Shame.  We have seen the cascade effect of sin in the life of the woman in the garden.  We cannot tip toe around what this woman did.  We call it a poor choice or we look at our choices and say, “Yes, I made a poor choice or a bad decision.”  Do we actually call our wrong choices for what they are:  SIN?  It seems we tip toe around what sin really is and soft pedal it and call it a poor choice or a wrong choice.  In the process of changing the labeling of sin, we soften the feelings of guilt which then softens our internal resolve to not make the same poor choice again.  If we do not feel as much guilt then we will not feel as much shame.  With a decrease in the feeling of shame, we have gained a liberation to make an increasing amount of poor/wrong choices because our psychological well-being is based on our freedom of choice.

Shame.  It seems shame has taken a back seat to psychological happiness.  Rather than calling sin for what it is and accepting the consequences of sin, we soften the feeling of shame in order to preserve a person’s sense of well-being.  In Genesis 3:7 “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.  And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” The woman and the man felt shame for the sin that they had committed so they covered their shame with fig leaves.  Only minutes before there was no shame in their nakedness, nor was there shame in their hearts because they had a guilt-free conscience.  Now they sinned against the Holy God, the Creator of the universe and they felt shame.  We cannot soft pedal this into a poor choice, rather we must call this for what it was and the man and the woman must face the consequences that will be meted out by the Creator of the universe.

Shame.  In our world today, we do not want to damage the psychological make-up of those around us or our children, so we give them the freedom of choice and try to soften the blow of sin and its consequences by calling it a poor choice and then softening the consequences.

Shame.  In the early 1700’s George Whitefield came to America from Ireland and began to preach across the colonies.  As he began to preach the “Great Awakening” among the early Americans began to take place. During this time of spiritual revival among the colonists many would stop their work for the day and go out into the field where Mr. Whitefield was preaching and listen to his sermons.  In his sermons that attracted thousands, he called these people sinners and the wrong they were committing sin, yet many admired and respected Mr. Whitefield and came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through his ministry. According to Benjamin Franklin “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants.”  This change in peoples’ lives did not come about in the early history of America because Mr. Whitefield called sin a poor choice, rather he called it sin and revealed to these sinners the consequences for their sin and their need for a Savior.

Shame.  Guilt.  Consequences.  These serve as a reminder that the actions or words that were committed or said were wrong and need to be dealt with.  Don’t soft pedal sin as a poor choice, but rather face the music and deal with the consequences head on, admit your guilt to all it affects, and with help from a loving God seek to change your behavior.  There may be permanent consequences, but choose to never commit the same sin again.  God did not give the man and the woman an opportunity to commit the same sin again.  He banished them from the garden and they bore the consequences the rest of their lives; however, we must choose not to wallow in our shame but in the enveloping forgiveness of God.

Gave

Gave.  It starts out so simple, so innocent.  A moment of pleasure, a minute of self-indulgence, or a look of self-satisfaction.  It only takes a minute to start down this path that the woman in the garden was on.  My youth leader’s wife used to tell me, “A minute on the lips, forever on the hips.”  A cute saying that does bear truth in the lives of those who are watching their waistline.  This simple truth; however, shows how quickly something innocent can impact our lives and the cascade effect it has.

Gave. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6).  Do you notice the verbs that I highlighted in this text?  It started with her eyes and moved quickly to her desires.  She wanted to be wise, yet I wonder what made her think she was not wise?  Again, I need to remind us that this woman was in the perfect environment with everything she needed, and yet somehow she thought she needed more wisdom.  In her mind this one piece of fruit was going to make her wise.  No other fruit in the garden that she had eaten before had made her wise, at least that is what she thought.  One piece of fruit held the keys to her future happiness and wisdom.

Gave.  Once she made the decision, she wanted to share her good fortune.  Only poor decisions do not promote positive effects in the lives of those around us.  We only think about the benefits in our lives not the harmful effect it will have in anyone else’s life.  There are so many examples in our everyday lives of this cascading effect of poor choices, sin.  Take the legalization of marijuana.  No one thought about the effect of marijuana laced cookies and brownies on people’s pets or children that were accidentally consumed.  They only thought about their own enjoyment from a marijuana laced brownie.

Gave.  What is it that will make you happy?  Is it a new job, a different spouse, different friends, bigger house, nicer car, etc?  Yet, in the quest to acquire what we think we need, what effect will it have on those around us?  Will someone else have to suffer because of the choices we make?  The woman gave the man the piece of fruit after she went through a selfish process of desire.  He suffered the consequences of the woman’s disobedience and desires along with her.  How many children suffer because of their parents’ alcoholism, anger, drug abuse, greed, etc?  Why?  They are trying to satisfy their own selfish desires, but the children pay the price.  Don’t give away your poor choices, rather give away selflessness, kindness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.   When you wake up the next morning you won’t regret your decision.

Path. Part II

Path.  So the path you have chosen seemed harmless and enjoyable when you began the journey.  The choices laid out before you seemed harmless no matter what direction you chose to follow.  Either choice was an acceptable choice, if you took that choice exclusively on its own merit.  However, no decision or choice stands alone.  Each choice we make provides a cascade effect to the next choice, the next decision, and the next quandary we find ourselves.  Do you look at the decisions you make today and think about how that will impact your future?  Maybe washing laundry seems rather innocuous, but if it needs to be done today and you wait till tomorrow you begin to establish patterns of procrastination, or the chores that need to be completed tomorrow must be put off because the laundry was not finished the day before.

Path. The woman entertained the question from the serpent and then in her reply she added information that was not in the original message from God, this a lie.  We move on to the next red flag.  Genesis 3:4 “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”  The serpent now is outright lying to the woman.  “You will not die” contradicts what God said in Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  The serpent is now brazen and contradicts what God said.  First, the woman talked with a serpent, next the serpent put doubts into the mind of the woman, now the serpent lied to the woman.  The minute the outright lie came from the serpent’s mouth, the woman should have ran; rather she continued to listen to all the serpent had to say.

Path.  Remember, God had given the man and the woman a perfect environment with all the food they could want from a variety of trees throughout the garden.  For what else could they have asked?  Yet, the appeal of this one tree that God told them not to eat from became too great.  They had multiple trees to eat from, and that one tree became the source of their desire once the serpent began to take them down the path.  One tree with consequences vs. multiple trees with blessings.  It seems so easy for us to see the correct choice and the direction on the path we should choose, yet in the midst of a decision does it seem this clear cut to us?

Path.  The serpent enlisted the various aspects of their being and their desires in order to entice them into disobedience.  The first one being pride.  The serpent, who was not the Creator of this beautiful paradise, informed them they would be like God.  This was lie #2.  But in their minds they must have thought, “God is the Creator of the universe, who wouldn’t want to be like God.” This one piece of fruit was going to make them like God. That seems like a pretty powerful piece of fruit.  Naturally, they wanted a part of that.

Path.  The next part of this verse does share the truth, “knowing good and evil.” Once they ate the fruit they would now know evil.  Before this interaction, all they had known was perfection and the goodness of God.  They had heard the word “evil” when God commanded them not to eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” but they did not know what evil was.  If they ate this fruit, they would find out what evil was as well.

Path.  What will you choose when faced with a decision?  When confronted with two choices: a lie and a truth, what will you choose?  What will you do to help yourself make the right choice?  Maybe you don’t care about the right choice, you only have yourself to make happy so that will be the direction you choose.  Path.  It may seem innocuous, but each decision cascades to another, what will you choose?

Path

Path.  Do you ever get from point A to point B and you cannot remember how you got there or even when you started?  Maybe you do know how you have arrived and you look back over the events that took place and you either marvel at watching the hand of God move in your life or you regret every decision you made along the way.  My husband started a new job a few months ago and as we look back over the course of the last 4-5 years we can see the hand of God moving to the point of this new job, but also the many benefits along the way while following this path.  I have also witnessed the flip side of this coin and the path of poor decisions that resulted in negative consequences.  What seems good for a season only turns into a burden of regrets.

Path.  The woman started on a path in Genesis 3 that led her to a place of regrets that she carried and was reminded of daily.  God forgave her sin, but the burden of regrets was heavy as she had pain during childbearing, struggled against the thorns and thistles, and knew that the end was death.  These were some of the consequences that the man and the woman brought on themselves as they chose to be disobedient.

Path.  So how did the woman get to this point?  She allowed herself to be drawn down the wrong path.  First, she listened to a talking serpent.  Red flag #1.  Have you ever begun a conversation with someone that you knew ahead of time would not turn out well?  The person has a poor reputation, previous conversations have not turned out well, or the first words out of the mouth of the other individual were not a good introduction to the rest of the conversation.  Using the woman as an example from Genesis 3, we know the first thing we should do is run. This conversation will not turn out well, we should not even continue into it.  Run.

Path.  Next, the question from the serpent put doubts about God into the woman’s mind.  I appreciate a good debate.  A few months ago there was a debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, and their debate centered on evolution vs. creation.  Both were prepared for the debate, there was a moderator who kept things orderly, and there were guidelines established before the debate that also assisted in the orderliness of the debate.  Neither participant was taken off guard when the debate started.  Many times in our everyday walks of life, we are caught off guard by an interaction with someone.  In these situations we must run.  The woman, when she heard the initial question, “Did God actually say?” should have left, sought support, or sought counsel.  Rather than these options she entertained the question.  The minute something/someone puts a doubt in your mind about God, who He is, what He does, or how He acts; we must immediately return to truth.  The initial question, “Did God actually say?” caused doubt.

Path.  The woman’s response was inaccurate.  When we have an inaccurate response, a lie, we must realize that as another red flag.  After a few mistakes, we begin to think we have to keep going in order to cover our tracks or just get to the other side of this quagmire and hopefully the other side of this wrong path will not be so bad.   Yet, in our minds it seems too difficult to turn back so we continue, which is what the woman did.

Path.  Consider your own life.  Have there been red flags that you have ignored?  Where did it take you?  Was the sin only fun for a season, but the consequences of the sin outweighed the short term enjoyment?  We will continue our Path of destruction from the woman’s perspective in the next post.  Consider your path, it may change the course of your life.