Sin and your true self

Sin hinders your true self from being realized. So, let’s talk about sin. Some people have a problem with sin, or the word/concept of sin. They’ve come to understand it in a cultural or societal or even a religious interpretation…we are worms, worthless, there is no good in us.

This is not a biblical picture of sin and it’s effect on us. Remember before original sin there was original grace.

Dallas Willard says in Renovation of the Heart, “Sin does not make us worthless, only lost.”

Let’s start at the beginning:

Genesis 1 – Humankind created in the image of God and declared “good.” There is a God spark inside every person that God tends. Like the eternal flame at Arlington Cemetary, it is guarded and never extinguished.

Then, of course, came Genesis 3. Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had asked them to avoid, saw that they were naked, felt shame and attempted to clothe themselves. Sin became incarnate.

Although created in the image of God (good) we also have inherited the image of Adam and Eve (sin). We are sin tainted, it’s in our spiritual DNA, like fat marbled in a piece of meat.

Simply speaking, Sin keeps the hyacinth in the dark, hindering it from being the colorful and beautiful flower it was meant to be.

Next post: The completion of my thoughts about true self, sin-tainted self and your true beauty.

They ‘paved paradise’

It’s obvious we are not living anywhere near the Garden of Eden and God’s intention for our lives and relationships. What went wrong? Genesis 3 gives us a clue.

After the ‘fall’ Adam and Eve “clothed themselves in fig leaves.”

Previous to the fall, they enjoyed unadulterated fellowship with God, each other and all of creation; they were “naked and not ashamed.” In perfect partnership and according to God’s direction, they tended the garden and cared for the animals. They knew only freedom and joy. After the fall, Adam and Eve were afraid. They hid themselves and made fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Heeding the serpent’s voice and choosing to do the one thing God has asked them not to do changed their outlook; suddenly they became self conscious, for the first time they noticed their own nakedness. Their attention and focus shifted to themselves. Their gaze moved from God, each other and the garden to their own naked bodies. They became aware of their vulnerable state and knew they had disappointed God. Out of this shame, they attempted to hide behind self-made fig leaves.

We’ve inherited this pattern. We are very self-aware, in many ways we cast ourselves as the primary character in the play of life; it’s all about us, we are the center of the universe. And sadly, because we are afraid who we are will disappoint God or others we hide and cover up. Our fear and shame causes us to use emotional/relational styles of fig leaves to cover ourselves and hide our nakedness. Fear and pretense kills the spiritual and ideal community God wants to us experience.

We can no longer enter relationships without fear and shame being present to some degree. You must earn my trust. I must grow to believe that you are a safe person with whom I can be my vulnerable self. Until then, I’ll keep myself protected and guard against the pain of disappointment by hiding behind my own version of a fig leaf.

Does this sound familiar? Visit see examples of various emotional/relational fig leaves. Take a risk, find a few trusted friends in your spiritual community with whom you can dare to be ‘naked and not ashamed.’ As Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.”