Naked and Afraid

Naked and Afraid

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9-10

At one of my workplaces recently, I heard a rumor that someone was getting fired. I didn’t think much of it and it didn’t even occur to me that it might involve me. I ignored it and as far as I know, no one was fired. I got to thinking later though, about a time when that same rumor would have sent me into a panic. While I was using drugs, my addiction was a terrible, dark secret which I desperately kept hidden. With my conscience screaming, I was plagued continuously by intrusive thoughts that everyone knew exactly what I was doing. Every look meant something. Every rumor was about me. As much as I tried to shroud my secret life, I felt naked, as if others could see right through me. If I’d have heard that someone-is-getting-fired gossip back then, I’d have lost it.

This is the condition in which Adam found himself in today’s passage. In the story, Adam and Eve had just eaten the forbidden fruit, realized they were naked, and promptly hid from God. So, God came looking, calling out to Adam, Where are you? Adam didn’t confess and ask forgiveness. Rather, his concern was that he didn’t want God to see his nakedness. His sin was the reason he felt naked and afraid, but I’m not sure Adam had pieced that together yet. He simply knew that God could see right through him, and that he didn’t want to experience that kind of scrutiny. God’s presence hadn’t bothered him when he had nothing to hide. His sin however, stripped him of all confidence, transforming his view of God from loving creator to terrifying judge. And so, he hid.

Most of us have been here. We’ve done something of which we’re ashamed, so we hide our failure from others and we run from God. This is the effect of sin – it alienates us from God and community. Evil strips us of faith and confidence, leaving us naked and afraid. What if they know? I can’t look at God. I can’t even look in the mirror.

Like Adam though, even in our failure, God comes looking for us. We can ignore him and we can run from him. But that helps nothing. It only worsens our condition. As painful as it may be to stand before God’s scrutiny, we must realize that, in our failure, what we need most is God’s love, forgiveness, and transformation. Repentance is the only solution to our nakedness and fear.

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