And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
What a sensation that must have been for the shame to rush in, for that foreign feeling of guilt to sweep over Adam and Eve for the first time. Up until this moment, everything had been so perfect. There was no sin to contaminate the earth or their hearts or their relationship with each other or with God. But now they needed a covering. Now they wanted to hide. Now they didn’t eagerly go out when God came to walk with them. Now they knew something was seriously wrong and everything in their world was different, significantly changed by their sin and that forbidden knowledge they’d gained by eating the fruit.
Sometimes for us, that guilt and shame is an all-too-familiar feeling. From the time we’re born, we bear within us the results of that long-ago sin, carrying that sin nature. And over and over in our lives, we fall short of perfection. Over and over we make the wrong choice and do the wrong thing and disobey the commands of God, and we find ourselves, like Adam and Eve, running for cover, wanting to hide, seeking some solace for the guilt and the shame and that sense of wrongness we feel but have no cure for.
But back then, long ago in that newly tainted world, God had a plan to make right what had gone so wrong, through the sacrifice of Jesus. Our realization of our sin may bring upon us those unwanted feelings of shame and guilt, but it also opens us up to the opportunity to receive God’s grace and forgiveness for those sins. That desire to hide and to run from God is remedied by the shed blood of Christ, because when we’re covered by that, we can draw near again. We don’t have to hide anymore. We don’t have to turn aside from Him. We don’t have to be overcome by that sense of wrongness, because there is a way to make it right again.
Sin is a reality of our world, but there is a cure for it. Shame is a product of sin, but it’s just a tool that can open our hearts to the love of God that He will pour into us in its place. When we do something wrong, we know it deep down inside, even if we’re afraid to admit it. When we’re separated from God by sin, we’re aware of that disconnect. And when we’re overwhelmed by guilt and that helpless feeling to do something about that burden, there is a place we can go. God Himself made the way, so let us be willing to accept His mercy and forgiveness. Let us allow His shed blood to wash away our guilt and shame.