At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:7-9
Shame is not simply a feeling you have when you are disgraced, but one of the first sins that man had. I really think it’s a forgotten sin because we really focus on it being a feeling more than an attitude. Wrong attitudes are sin and shame is a wrong attitude to have. I finally had the time to watch a great movie called Act of Valor. It tells the story of a group of Navy Seals that are trying desperately to thwart a devastating terror attack on American soil. One quote I will take directly from the script is made while a soldier is writing to another soldier’s kid who died in action. He says, “There is a brotherhood between us and we depended on each other more than a family. Tecumseh said, although a single twig will break, a bundle of twigs is strong.” Shame keeps is from not only God, but from people that could care for us and pray for us; people that could encourage us. As the quote is saying, alone we can be broken, but together we are strong. It’s so true. We can take some real awesome life lessons from our protectors the Navy Seals on shamelessness.
One of the first things that was shown in the film is that they had each others back, on the field of battle and off the field of battle. They were brothers closer to each other than family because they had to face death, day in and day out. The thing I thought was cool was before they would go “down range” they discussed family issues, financial problems that some may have had. They wanted these issues resolved before they went on the field of battle so that everyone would be top notch and not having their minds wander while in the middle of a battle. Mistakes happen if you are thinking of other things than focusing on the mission at hand. The leader of the Seal team encouraged shamelessness. He made it clear what was at stake and no matter the issue, it had to be brought up then and not later when lives were on the line. We can take this same thought in our own lives, by surrounding ourselves with people that are closer to us than family in that they won’t judge us, but love us for who we are not what we do from time to time when we fail. If you are disgraced, you can have grace with people that are for you and not against you.
Another shameless act of courage is the fact that no man is left behind on the field of battle or “down range.” One of their own was wounded and even later in the movie, the two main characters are hurt, but they are not left behind. This continues the theme of selflessly putting yourself in harms way to get your brother to safety. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a duty not to leave our brothers and sisters behind. Let them know that there is no shame in confessing their sin, that there is no condemnation from you when they do share. We have a duty to be intentional when it comes to people sharing things that may seem shocking to you. The best way to handle this is to be intentional in your response, always show grace and love no matter the sin confession.
A third lesson we can garner from the Navy Seals is the idea of giving our lives up for the sake of the team. At the end of the film, one of the Seals has to dive onto a live grenade so the team would go on living. He took the whole impact of the grenade to spare his teammates lives. He made the ultimate sacrifice and had the greatest act of valor that any service man can make. He died for his country and spared his team certain death. The same goes for us. Jesus said we had to take up our cross daily and follow Him. We have to die to our flesh and allow our Spirit man to take over and lead our lives. When we do that we destroy shame in others lives.
The last part of the above verse that gets me all the time is when God asks Adam, “where are you?” Adam gave up walking with God in the garden, gave up being with the creator of the universe for sin. God knew where he was, He just could not see him because God cannot look upon sin. Jesus took all of our shame upon Him so that we can have restored fellowship with our living God. God can now look at us favorably. Since the beginning of time, shame has been one sin that the enemy uses against us very effectively. If you feel shame, you are less likely to share your sin with another brother of sister. Always remember that when we are in disgrace, God will put people with grace in our lives, grace to love away the shame.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.