It all began in the Garden of Eden…
All was in harmony. There was a direct hotline that Adam had with Our Heavenly Father. After the first 5 days of creation, God saw the beauty of creation and how good it was. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the wild creatures that crawl on the ground.” –Genesis 1:26
I wonder how many days it took (or did it happen right away) temptation to create the conflict in the lives of Adam and Eve with God, their (Our) Creator? They were told not to eat of the one tree in the middle of the garden. The slithering, conniving serpent falsely encouraged and lied to Eve to “eat of the tree, and your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.”
So she did. This is when Adam and Eve’s eyes were truly opened—their eyes of the heart. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loin cloths for themselves. (And then) when they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden……the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees….(Genesis 3:1-7 paraphrased). Adam and Eve felt shame in that moment and had to cover it in whatever way it could be covered. So they put on fig leaves and hid among the trees in the garden. Can you believe they actually thought they could hide from God? God knew what they had done. He knew where they were. However, he allowed them to respond.
The Lord God voiced His concern to Adam, opening a discussion with him, never turning His back on the couple nor using selective listening, never judging or pointing the finger at them. The dialogue continues…Adam says, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me the fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” –Genesis 3:12. Is this where blame first entered? We now call that a scapegoat, or perhaps putting the blame on someone else instead of being responsible for his own part of the falling out with God.
True shame comes when we make a mistake and we feel guilty as Judith MacNutt describes it. It’s not about denying the shame or looking at it falsely. Her article continues to say, If we look at shame falsely, it becomes a tool of the enemy in the fear of being found out, exposed, rejected, abandoned, or deemed unworthy.
Did God present these characteristics in His dialogue with Adam? No, He listened 100%–He was “all ears.” There was no condemning Voice. God had given His ruling of what tree they could eat and what the consequences were. It was the part in Adam, it’s the part in us, that one fleeting moment when temptation enters—when the enemy falsely whispers, and suddenly we are put in a position of blame and (sometimes) shame.
As the oldest in the family of five (5) other siblings, my dad would say many times, “You are the oldest. You are the one that needs to set the example.” In other words, if something went wrong, I would get the blame. It took me many years to put a name to that. It was called false responsibility. But, I was able to take this to prayer and forgive my dad. I know now that I have a Heavenly Father who says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love so I have kept my mercy for you.” –Jeremiah 31:3
In summary, I encourage anyone to bring these vices to the Lord. As a prayer minister, the supplicant enters a quiet time with the Lord. When invited, the Lord enters that memory of where the blame and shame entered in your life. Then watch what happens…….It is brought to our attention that He has loved us from the beginning of time.
(the New American Bible (NAB) version unless otherwise noted)