The truth is, there are times we have pure joy, lush greenery, communion. We have paradise; we have "eden."
But its not enough.
As the story goes, Adam and Eve were living their youthful, innocent lives tending a lively garden found in a world that was built as God's very temple. Their wardrobe, or lack thereof, displays a man and woman, or perhaps more boy and girl, in adolescent developmental bliss. After a morning of picking olives and pruning bushes they could spend an afternoon climbing trees and running with giraffes.
Did Eve wonder why Adam named that long necked creature "giraffe"?! That's a funny word.
You don't have to be Jewish or Christian to know the rest of the story. The serpent offered Eve and Adam what seemed like a sweet deal. "Eat this fruit. You'll know good and evil like God does." The odd thing is he isn't even untruthful here. God had given Adam and Even the opportunity to develop wisdom slowly with experience. They opted for the fast track— wisdom without wait and work, without maturity.
The sad result of their breaking of God's wise counsel, "sin" as us faithful folk say, is not them feeling ashamed of their bodies so much as them suddenly being warp-driven into a maturity of existence they hadn't been intended to experience at this point in their development. They desired more, and to their detriment, they got it. Like a 14 year old too eager for a license or a 19 year old who can't get to 21 quick enough, these two wanted more knowledge ASAP.
The result, broken community, fear of being unloved, shame.
We often find ourselves asking, "God, where are you?!" in our messes. Ironically, one of the first questions in the story of scripture is God asking, "Adam and Eve, where are you?!"
Just like us when we receive the "excuse text" from a friend hoping to avoid being in our presence after a mistake comes to light, God knows what their absence means. Avoidance, hiding, fear.
As mentioned in my last blog, shame comes at times from circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes, however, we just botch it. We choose poorly or wrongly. To use a not-very-popular word, we "sin."
We go for the easy and quick, albeit unhealthy, choice to hate, lash out, envy, slander, gossip about his addiction, ignore that homeless man. We drink, snort, inhale things that will fill us with numbed pain and regret but a lack of control. We pursue $ over our family, curse instead of bless, hold a grudge. For. Ever!
We offend and don't leave our sacrifice at the temple to go ask forgiveness of the sister we wronged. We bully, objectify, or physically/cyber bully another human being.
We want nourishment from a fruit which we're not ready for or were never created to consume. Yet consume we do.
And just like that fast food meal that's our bellies quick fix, there are complications as a result. Fast track meals don't work well for the long life of health. Sin, while at times delicious, is also high in calories and bad for blood pressure.
When we sin, we tend to do two unhelpful things. We harden our hearts to the effects and/or avoid the caring yet confronting gaze of our friends and Creator. We hide our hearts, like mom's vase we broke, believing it can't be repaired and all that could possibly wait upon its marred discovery is punishment and rejection.
I leave us here, hanging in disconnect. We botched it. We thought it would do us better and led to all kinds of unintended regret.
Next time I'll talk about what God does with our disconnection.
What are the fruits you're eating that are producing shame in your life?
Are you hardening or hiding your heart in shame? Why?