We Make the Road by Walking // Drama and Shame
- Jeff Helpman
- September 16th, 2018
- Genesis 3
- Categories: General Teachings
So this message was a little packed! We want to help unpack some of it for you.
It is very easy to get hung up on words because words are very powerful. They have the power to give life but they also have the power to steal it. So what we're asking is that you take a moment and read this post and be open to the challenge of rethinking some of the things you've thought about God. Like the song we sing, called Simple Gospel, we invite you to willingly lay down your religion in exchage for knowing God. At The Grove Church we want to hold on to our beliefs with an open hand, to be willing to stand on what we believe and also willing to admit where we have been wrong. At the same time, we understand that we may still get things wrong. We want to be clear about our goal in being a faith community, that it's not always about getting things right but instead building relationships and seeing people's lives transformed by Jesus Christ. So with all that said, check out this blog post and sermon from last Sundays worship gathering.
Here we go...
We Make the Road by Walking
For most of Christianity, the journey to relationship with God has been that of the SIN/SEPARATION/SALVATION Model. Where you and I were born with SIN and thus SEPARATED from God and the only way back was to get SAVED (believe-repent-accept).
What we're suggesting, is that instead, perhaps a healthier way to think of it, is more of a SHAME/ESTRANGED/HEALING Model. Something in our behavior has left us feeling unworthy (SHAME). So we hide ourselves from God, in other words break our relationship with God (ESTRANGED). It is only through the process of remembering that God loves us and that we belong with God, where the relationship can be fully restored (HEALING). Forgetting who we are (beloved sons and daughters of God), remembering who we are, and returning to God.
Let's look at a definition of the word shame. According to the English Oxford Living Dictionary, Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
For the purposes of this post, here is a description of what we believe sin is. Sin (Hebrew word - Khata) is the failure of reaching a goal or missing the mark. Anything that we do that fails to fullfill our purpose, to love God and love Others could be sin. We might also include failing to love ourselves and/or creation.
Here is a video that might help you with our definition of SIN:
Remember the scene in the Garden of Eden when God comes looking for Adam and Eve in Genesis 2, right after both humans had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Adam and Eve, having disobeyed God and immediately feeling shame and covering thier nakedness, try to hide themselves from God. God called out, "Adam where are you?" Not because God was angry, but because God desires to be in relationship with His creation. Adam says to God, "I heard you coming and we were afraid, we were naked and so we hid. Adam and Eve felt shame.
Just a chapter ealier we're told that Adam and Eve were naked and "they felt no shame."1 So what changed? Why the feeling of shame? Having read the story, we know that the serpent character used trickery to fool Eve into deceiving herself. He attacked the core of her identity and convinced her that God did not love His creation and was keeping things from the humans. Eve, in her desire to want more, chose to believe the serpent and ate from the Tree. She chose to give into the temptation and believe that God didn't love her.
In Matthew's gospel we see a replay of the Garden story, when right after Jesus was baptized by John, Jesus goes into the wilderness to be tempted by the enemy. Here Satan plays the character of the enemy and begins to attack Jesus' identity, just like the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus chooses not to believe the enemy and insteads remembers the words spoken over Him at His baptism.2 Jesus chose to find His identity as the beloved Son of God.
As humans, created in God's image, we have a choice. We can choose to live in our identity as the beloved sons and daughters of God, or choose to let the words of the enemy deceive us into believeing we are unworthy of God's love. When we sin, when we miss the mark, when we fail to reach the goal to love God and love others, we will have a choice to make. We can distance ourselves from God (hide and become estranged) or we can move into healing, by remembering who we are and living in that identity. There is nothing that can separate us from God's love but we must choose to accept that love. When Jesus dies on the cross for our sins, it was not so that God would change His mind about us, but so we would change our minds about Him. God is not angry with us, instead He is calling out to us, wondering where we have gone. Now we choose to leave shame behind and find our place back in realtionship with a loving God.
If you have any questions or desire more clarification please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 - 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25 NIV)
2 - 16-17 The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” (Matthew 3:16-17 MSG)
Thanks and keep Loving God and Loving Others.