Have you wondered when sexual shame first entered the world? In this blog post we will look at the creation story and the fall to see how sexual shame entered this world. Then we will discuss how biblical community is a key factor in finding freedom from sexual shame. I pray that you will feel encouraged and challenged to enter into community and share your story with trusted and safe people.
In the Garden of Eden, God created Adam, and God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). Then God created Eve. Then, God saw all that he had made, and he said that it was very good (1:31).
Adam and Eve fully knew and loved each other. They walked around naked and felt no shame. They took pleasure in one another. God blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful and increase in number (1:28). God created them to have sex, to enjoy one another’s bodies, to live naked and unashamed.
Without other humans, they had only each other. They were fully known and fully loved. God saw the man and woman’s relationship, and he loved it. God loved their connection. Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (v. 23).
The author of Genesis then explains God’s intent for marriage: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (2:24–25). God’s first conversation with mankind included sex, yet churches fail to talk about it. God created husband and wife to live naked and unashamed.
When sin entered the story, the man and the woman experienced shame for the first time. The serpent convinced Eve that God lied to her. “He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (3:1b–7).
After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve saw their nakedness and experienced shame for the first time. This shame caused them to want to cover themselves up so that the other person would no longer see their nakedness.
They experienced sexual shame and they hid from each other. The Fall caused shame to enter in and touch every aspect of human lives, including our relationships, our sexuality, and our spirituality. Shame is not just a consequence of what happened in the garden; the enemy also uses it as a weapon to separate us from others and from God.
In the garden, God responds to them by essentially saying, I want to see you. Shame made them hide from God, but God wanted to see them. Just like Adam and Eve, in our shame we want to hide and turn away from God and others. But God continues to pursue us even after sin, shame, fear, and hiding enters the story. God intended for the world to be filled with goodness and beauty, but evil has used shame to see that this will never happen. Shame may have started in the Garden, but it continues to impact us today.
How will we find freedom from the sexual shame that separates us from others? By being known in biblical community.
Biblical community is a key factor in finding freedom from sexual shame.
Sexual shame makes us uncomfortable, causing us to separate ourselves from others. This creates more shame. Instead of moving away from one another, we must move toward one another and connect in community—only then can we know freedom from shame. Sharing the most shameful parts of our stories scares us, but God made us for relationship.Sharing the most shameful parts of our stories scares us, but God made us for relationship. Click To Tweet
We must walk in the light, be a part of fellowship and community, confess sin to one another, and experience forgiveness—then we can experience freedom. In community, we can begin to form intimate connections to others. It is only through trusted intimate relationships that one can begin to find healing.
God created us to desire to be fully loved and fully known. This process of being fully loved and fully known in community is necessary for healing from shame. Since isolation is one of shame’s primary methods of destruction, we must make sure to surround ourselves with trustworthy community in order to find freedom.
Practical Steps to Experience Biblical Community
- Get involved with your local church.
- Serve with your local church.
- Join a small group or Bible study.
- Find an accountability friend.
- Share your story with safe people.
- Offer to pray for one another.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”1 John 1:7