Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hide and Seek

Consider this verse from Genesis 3:8-10
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?” And he said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Were Adam and Eve hiding from God because they knew they were naked? Or was it really because they were ashamed of what they had done? Ever since that one act of willful disobedience, human beings have done things they knew were wrong. Many people are so broken they don’t even see the error of their ways. Others are proud of their misdeeds; they are unrepentant, reveling in their sin. Regardless, we have all sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.

For those of us who have turned towards God, we regret. We are left with memories of who we were before we accepted God’s grace and forgiveness. Scripture says our records are wiped clean by Jesus’ dying on the cross for us, but it is easier to know that than it is to feel it, or understand it. After all, we know what messes we were, how bad we screwed up. The excuse that we were younger then, that we didn’t know any better is no balm for our souls. Incredulous, we wonder: how can God possibly love us? How can He forgive us? And so, we hide.

We may not literally disappear from view, but we hide emotionally, and spiritually. We live our lives with those aspects of our past neatly tucked away. We function, but we never surrender those old wrongs to God. We subconsciously repress them, but all that does it make sure we never own them; we never admit them, we never face them. It’s as if we aren’t forgiven of them at all, because we don’t forgive ourselves. We hold on to them, like a grudge against ourselves that anchors us, holds us back, keeps us from becoming all that God designed us to be.

In marriage, this issue can be especially damaging. We cannot be fully loved unless we are fully known. There’s a reason the Biblical euphemism for sexual intercourse is “to know” - because it implies complete, deepest intimacy. Shame and regret make people hide parts of themselves, episodes from their past, thinking their spouse wouldn’t love them if they really knew everything, When there are things you hold tight to and don’t surrender, it affects the relationship. If you are to truly become one flesh, that has to include all facets of both parties, good bad and ugly - otherwise the union can not be complete.

Marriage is supposed to be a place where transparency and vulnerability are safe, but too often it isn’t - or we assume it isn’t - and that keeps it from being all it is designed to be. Both spouses need to commit to fostering an atmosphere of safety, promising to forgive anything from the past. When we can admit it all, we can rid ourselves of it. We can hand it over to God and truly be who he made us to be. John Maxwell said “You know why they call grace amazing? Because it’s amazing!” When two people commit to giving it - and receiving it - from each other, knowing it was given them by God, it is rejuvenating, and transformative. It turns a human relationship into a picture of God’s love that we can show to the world.

I heard once that love happens between two people who don’t know each other, but TRUE love happens between two people who know each other completely - so strive to know one another completely. Be open. Be honest. Forgive. Show grace. Love deep.