My family plays the most intense game of “Hide-n-Seek” ever known to mankind. My youngest sister’s family lives on 14 acres of land in a white farmhouse with a red tin roof and wrap-around porch. It’s an awesome place to play and enjoy the outdoors. And we play everything intensely…think broken bones from tetherball.
So “Hide-n-Seek” is no different. One day we were hiding and my sister was “it” – so when she yelled out from the barn, “Ready or not, here I come,” she bolted out of the barn — ON HER HORSE — chasing us all down. Even onto the wrap-around porch – on her horse! We all laughed our heads off as we scattered every which way. Another time I was hiding with my 3 year-old nephew, Jackson, and when the person called out, “Ready or not, here I come,” he jumped out and yelled, “HERE I AM!” Children are so funny! Up until around four, they just don’t get this game.
I love spiritual lessons from kids.
I wonder exactly when it is that we “wise up” and “learn” how to hide? When do we start to realize or think that we can “spiritually” hide? Unfortunately, I don’t think it takes that long…One day with the innocence of a child, we’re yelling out, “Here I am!” — then, before we know it, we’re playing “hide n seek” — and we become experts at hiding. We try to keep God and others out of the places in our lives where we don’t want to be found.
Why do we hide?
The first game of “Hide-n-seek” happened a long time ago and it was in a garden and God was IT…it was actually the first time sin entered the world and it was the first time shame and guilt and blame were a human experience…And with those emotions, hiding became normal for us. We read about the first game of “hide n seek” in Genesis 3:8-9, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
We hide for the same reasons they hid…because we know we’ve messed up; we know we’re not worthy; we’re embarrassed that we don’t have it as together as it appears on the outside. We’re ashamed – so we hide.
But, y’all, shame is NOT an emotion from God. It’s actually something He’s been very intentional to free us from forever! One of the most dangerous traps Satan sets for us is the trap of “shame.” The “shame trap” is so dangerous because I think Satan knows he can render us useless as believers if we stay stuck in our shame. You can’t experience freedom in Christ and live the life He has for you to live when you are bound by shame.
Brace yourself, it’s about to get real up in here! Satan is the father of lies and he wants you to think your sins are worse than anybody’s and that you should hide. I call these sins “shackles of shame.” A shackle bounds you and keeps you from living freely – unhindered. Here are common examples of “Shackles of Shame:” a sexual past; eating disorder; a sexual present; obsessive thoughts of food; cutting, rape; codependency; abortion; porn; jealousy; anger; hate; same gender attraction; self-gratification (another way to say the awkward “m” word!); gossip; lying; cheating; drugs; abuse of alcohol; _____________________(you fill in the blank!).
Here’s the kicker: none of those sins (or any others for that matter), are more “sinful” than another! Read that again. Sure, there are different consequences to sin here on earth, but there is no level of sin…Sin is sin. Satan wants TO DECEIVE YOU and make you think your sins are so bad and so shameful that you could never come out of “hiding” and confess them to God, much less people. He is wrong. So what are you supposed to do with your shackles of shame?
Keys to unlocking your shackles of shame:
KEY #1: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32) gives you the key to your God-given freedom! The truth for believers is the word of God and knowing what it says allows us to fight off the lies of the enemy.
KEY #2: “….but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7) Ultimately, coming out of hiding means you share your junk with trusted, godly people in your life. Darkness hides, light reveals.
KEY #3: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, [why?] so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2,3)(emphasis mine). The key here is to FOCUS ON JESUS and what he did on the cross. Jesus rejected shame so you don’t have to ever hide in it again! Ever.
Y’all – I can’t express enough how vital it is to be in the Word so you can reject the enemy’s lies! You were freed from shame – forever – I’m not making this up! You may want to write the following verses out and put them somewhere you’ll see them a lot.
Rom 8:1, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Heb 10:17 “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.”
Col. 1:21-22 – “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”
Rom 10:9-11, “…anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Let’s return to the innocence of a child and when our Father seeks us out with, “Ready or not, here I come,” yell out in surrendered freedom, “HERE I AM!”
Join us next week for Part 2 where you’ll get to see why the following quote from Brene Brown is so true: “Empathy is the anecdote to shame – it’s the “me, too!”
Millie Welsh, RGM Executive Director