When Adam and Eve sinned, they were ashamed of their nakedness. Sin resulted in fear and hiding and a condemnation of their natural state. Adam and Eve’s new found knowledge of good and evil brought them anxiety in their naked identity. On their own, they tried to cover their nakedness and not feel shame but they failed. Self-hatred begins.
This explains, in part, why we struggle so much in the area of complete body acceptance. Our perceptions are distorted. Like Eve, we tend to listen to the voices all around us who don’t have our best interests in mind. When we take matters into our own hands and try to deal with our distorted perceptions without God, shame and hiding keep us buying more products, taking unhealthy supplements to loose weight, make us willing to go under the knife for risky surgery and more. Shame also distorts the image in the mirror and says to us, “You are inadequate and don’t measure up.”
The good news is that God sees us in our natural state, naked and all. He doesn’t shame us. It’s when we attempt to separate ourselves from God, to live life on our own terms that we feel shame and dislike our bodies. Just like Eve, we are lured away from God by opportunities to personally benefit, by focusing on appearance and by acting solo.
When we try to deal with shame and self-hatred apart from God, we won’t be successful. Our self-deception and self-will are too strong and distort our thinking and influence our behavior. Even if we don’t recognize it, distortion is part of us.
Thankfully, God pursued Adam and Eve in their naked state. Notice he didn’t hide from them but pursued them. I love that about God. We are the ones in hiding, not He. When Adam and Eve were ashamed and trying to hide, they really needed God to take control. Someone bigger had to intervene. And that’s just what happened before they were sent out of the garden to deal with a fallen world. God had them discard the fig leaves and made tunics of skin to clothes them. This is important, not because it was a fashion shift but because of the significance of God clothing them instead of them clothing themselves.
When God clothed them, it’s wasn’t because of shame. It was a covering of protection. Forget the ineffective fig leaves. They were man and woman’s attempt to solve their shame on their own. Skins had significance. They required the shedding of blood. God offered the first blood sacrifice to save Adam and Eve from spiritual death. What an incredible provision and foreshadowing of our need for a personal Savior to keep us from destroying ourselves through our own propensity to hide from God and solve our problems on our own.
When sin entered the picture, Adam and Eve needed a new covering that would calm anxiety and deal with their newfound insecurities. God’s provision to correct our fallen state began. Our designer is capable of covering our distorted perceptions with truth. He does not condemn us or our bodies. He offers grace and love.
We must acknowledge our nakedness before God. Then we must decide who will be allowed to cover us? Our own efforts, spoken words from family members, cultural images—all of which can keep us hiding with feelings of shame and insecurity? Or will we let God’s truth speak to us and listen? Will we let it heal us?
Allowed God to clothe you in his righteousness and truth. Stand naked before him and experience his love that will heal shame. We have a spiritual heritage that makes brings truth to our body, soul and spirit. It’s our choice to stand alone, naked and ashamed or with God’s help, move into body acceptance and learn to accept the beauty of His design.
Adapted from Dr. Mintle’s book, Making Peace with Your Thighs (Thomas Nelson)