The Root of Shame

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”—Genesis 3:7 (NKJV)

Following any transgression is the stark realization that we are exposed. For Adam and Eve, their disobedience in eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge gripped them as it stripped them of all that was good—paradise and close communion with the Lord. A communion that was formerly unashamed of their naked bodies; bodies once clothed with the light of God. 

The serpent told them their eyes would be opened, and indeed they were. But not opened to the type of knowledge the two had anticipated, but awareness they had placed their will above God’s. Their eyes were opened to deception resulting in brokenness. Ironically, lust and pride blinded them, yet they stared wide-eyed at the dreadful consequences of their choice.

Their choice to cover their sin rather than immediately seek repentance set the stage for mankind. Consider how a young child might instinctively hide his soiled hands before confessing to sneaking a cookie. Even King David ignored his sin with Uriah and Bathsheba until confronted by the prophet Nathan. Guilt wrecks the mind and pushes it to create an escape. Thus, with a new understanding of their condition, Adam and Eve desperately created their own way to stand before God—a fig leaf apron. It was a manmade covering, a religion of their own choosing to reunite with their Creator.

Matthew Henry wrote: “See here what is commonly the folly of those who have sinned. The excuses men make to cover and lessen their sins are vain and frivolous; like aprons of fig-leaves they make the matter never the better, yet we are all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam.” 

How very true. And how very sad that mankind will go through the difficult constructs of self-covering sin when we have a simpler way to regain communion with God: repentance. And we have this through Jesus Christ, who died to give us this grace.

Fig leaves, once taken, will shrivel. They die at the break and make for a flimsy covering. Contrast that with Jesus, whose body was given, is unbroken, and lives! He has been exalted at the right hand of God to give repentance and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31). Ongoing repentance places us back into unashamed communion with God; we are humbly covered in His light and robed in righteousness. May our eyes always be open to His faithfulness to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). 

DIG: What was at the root of Adam and Eve’s shame of their nakedness?

DISCOVER: Read Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9. What is the connection between these verses?

DO: If you are currently harboring any unconfessed sin, ask Jesus for forgiveness and for His healing power to turn from this sin. Psalm 51 can help direct you in your prayer. This Psalm is the photograph of a contrite spirit.

About the Author

Lisa Supp

Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.