I remember a colleague of mine at a treatment center I worked at years ago commonly made the comment that we don’t see enough people blushing or weeping over their sin. Weeping is a direct representation of repentance because of one’s sinful nature and the need for God to fill one’s heart. We should allow ourselves to feel the pain of what our sin has done. That is part of the grieving process as well. We should be able to grieve over the consequences of what sin has done. If all you do is smile after you realize what sin has done you haven’t been truly honest. This weeping is part of the shame process from original sin.
Specific to shame in Genesis 2:25 we see Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden naked and felt no shame. Once they disobeyed God they now had the knowledge that they were naked and therefore, felt shame.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves, Genesis 3:7.
Since shame is a core issue in our life and is founded from knowledge we try and anesthetize that pain of shame by severing the conscience. A classic example of this in sexual sin is when people say how great they feel when they come out of the closet and expose to their family and friends they are homosexual. This exposure of hidden emotions is not the only answer to releasing shame. It has some brief release and support from others which inhibits brain chemistry just like coming clean with any thing we are keeping secret. But, the embracing of the homosexual lifestyle has another level of shame that can never be cured by simply convincing everyone else around you it’s okay. I have counseled many men and women that have lived in gay communities, been in parades, protests, and marriages. They have all stated that the shame was still present even when the acceptance of everyone else around them was trying hard to help them be convinced it was okay. Simply put, they tell me it’s a lie. The lie is exactly what satan’s method was to manipulate Eve and Adam to disobey.
Once we start down that slippery slope of listening to lies and allowing our cognition, thinking, to be compromised we are headed for “relapse.” (Relapse prevention into sexual sin will be talked about in next week’s article)
The other element is how we as a culture have pursued to justify ourselves to not have to feel the shame and not blush. This is exactly what some are doing when trying to convince the government to legalize gay marriage.
Paige Cothren of Houston, Mississippi has written about the conscience recently in his book Neither Could They Blush. In this work he identifies how the severing of one’s conscience through repetitive lowering of standards by justification, rationalization and minimizing behaviors has brought many to perform acts that they later regret. He defines the conscience as:
The testimony and secret judgment of the mind which gives its approval to actions which it thinks good or condemns those which it believes to be bad: It’s an inner knowledge of mankind arising out of our general and experienced learning before salvation but which may be conformed to the will of God by the indwelling Holy Spirit after salvation, page 14.
Paige continues to describe how those in foreign missions have seen first hand those that were cannibals and living nude and with a severed conscience. When they heard and received the Word of God they were immediately aware that cannibalism and nudity was not acceptable. This is part of the inner working of the Holy Spirit. They didn’t have to be told it was wrong.
It is our responsibility though as we are new Christians to make choices with our thinking and actions that will motivate a stronger conscience to be Christ like. As a final word:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will, Romans 12:1-2.