Shame Part 1/3 – The Exit of the Son

“Shame is the fear of disconnection – is there something about me that if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?”
–Brene Brown

Shame. To some extent we all live with it – a debilitating disease, the cause of identity crisis, which robs us of abundant life. No one talks about shame. And the less you talk about shame the more you have it.

The story of creation tells us that in the beginning man was created by love, to be loved, and to love back. Made in the image of God, a triune, eternal, perfectly loving relationship, human beings are wired (neuro-biologically) for connection, belonging and intimacy – with God first then each other (Genesis 2:18). Connection, love, is why we’re here.

In the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed communion, relationship and intimacy with God and each other without shame or fear. There was perfect belonging. This is God’s plan. The end of Genesis chapter two reads “They were naked and unashamed.” In other words, Adam and Eve were fully seen, fully known, happy in their own skin and there was no pretence or hiding. This community of perfect “belonging” is human paradise. And we’re all after it, whether we know it or not.

Catastrophically, by Genesis three Adam and Eve had sinned, were afraid and they hid from God and each other. The tree of life (intimacy with Jesus) was replaced with the tree of knowledge (independence, judgement and self-centredness).

To the degree that we are still hiding, and failing to manifest our true design, to that degree shame is robbing us of our true inheritance. It is also robbing the world around us who are supposed to benefit from our God-given role in His story.

Shame always looks for a protective covering. In our modern age, achievement, material possession, addictions, numbing distractions, and a search for significance apart from Christ, have replaced the fig leaves. In the following chapters we will look at how we begin to get free of shame and learn to live in God’s plan of belonging and intimacy.

This article is an extract from 

God Hunger: Meditations from a life of longing


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