Adam and Eve had that kind of relationship with God. They were completely open, completely free. There were no barriers or boundaries. They had absolutely nothing to hide. They were naked and unashamed (Gen. 2:25, NKJV).
But all that changed the moment Adam and Eve tasted that apple. They sinned against God, covered themselves up, and hid. And humankind has been doing the same ever since. We sin, then in our shame we try to hide from God and others. We hide behind the masks of status, success, acquisitions, accomplishments.
We hide because of fear. We're afraid that if the truth about us were known, we would be rejected.
Our fear propels us to project an image that isn’t true. Our fear persuades us that it’s safer to be dishonest. And, ultimately, our fear prevents us from experiencing the kind of closeness in our relationships that our Creator desires us to have.
When He walked this earth, the topic Jesus addressed more than any other was not love, it was not obedience, it was not forgiveness. It was fear. Why? Because God knew how prevalent and pervasive fear would be in the lives of His children.
And amidst all of His pleas to us throughout the Bible--fear not, don't be anxious, be strong, don't worry--God, in His profound mercy, actually gives us the antidote to fear; the one thing that will stop fear dead it its tracks: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (I Jn. 4:18, NIV).
God's answer to fear: His perfect love. So what is perfect love?
- Perfect love is a love that looks beyond our masks and sees our needs.
- Perfect love is a love that accepts us for who we are, not what we've done.
- Perfect love is a love that sees everything about us—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and embraces us anyway.
That is how our Father in Heaven loves us.
The word dis-cover literally means the opposite of covering. We will dis-cover the fear-less intimacy that our Heavenly Father desires in our relationship with Him and others once we experience the depth of His perfect love.
When Adam tried to cover up His sin and hide from God, the Bible tells us that God came looking for him and called out, Where are you? (Gen. 3:9, NIV) Think about that. Why would an all-seeing, all-knowing God ask, where are you? God not only knew which shrub Adam was crouching behind but how many leaves that clung to it.
Truth is, God didn’t ask, where are you? because He needed to know where Adam was. God asked because Adam needed to know where Adam was. Adam needed to admit not only that he had sinned, but that he was hiding because of it. He needed to own his fear.
So where are you? Have you gone into hiding because of your sin? Are you covering up the real you because you are afraid you will be rejected if the truth were exposed? Are you projecting an image that is not real?
It is God’s desire that we take off our masks. That we shed our fig leaves and come out of hiding. It is when we come before Him in complete genuineness and honesty that His perfect love begins to flow. And in that perfect love we find freedom from all our faults, our failures, and our fears.
Is there a risk to exposing the truth about us? Absolutely. But there is an even greater risk in continuing to hide. The truth is, we cannot truly love or be loved as long as we are wearing a mask. Feel the weight of that truth. We cannot truly love or be loved as long as we are wearing a mask.
David, the one God called “a man after my own heart,” knew all to well not just the pain of his sin but the pain of hiding his sin. He wrote, When I kept quiet about my sin, my bones wasted away from crying all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was dried up as in the hot summer.
So David faced his fear of rejection and exposed himself. He continued, I told my sin to You. I did not hide my wrong-doing. I said, “I will tell my sins to the Lord.” And You forgave the guilt of my sin.
David then challenges all believers to open themselves up, as He did, to God's perfect love: So let all who are God-like pray to You while You may be found, because in the floods of much water, they will not touch him. You are my hiding place. You keep me safe from trouble. All around me are your songs of being made free (Ps. 32:3–5).
We cannot out-sin God's grace. But we can cheat ourselves out of it--by not telling the truth. And what will be the result of our honesty? God, in His perfect love, will meet us in the depth of our sin and offer us His grace from a supply that will never run out.
To have the kind of relationships God desires us to have we must get real--with Him, with others, and with ourselves. We must not simply acknowledge our sin, but the fear that all too often sends us into hiding.