Afraid of the Dark or Afraid of the Light?
If you’ve been following our Soul Care teaching series, you will have heard us use the phrase, “Nothing hidden can be healed.” We believe, by hiding, that we are protecting ourselves, when in reality we are only holding ourselves back from experiencing the forgiveness, freedom, and healing that Jesus offers.
While transparency and authenticity are vital in our relationship with Jesus, it is also something we need to become more comfortable in with each other. If you are married, this is particularly important in your relationship with your spouse.
In the story of creation, found in the book of Genesis, we get a glimpse at the very first relationship between a husband and a wife; the essence of which is summed up in just one line:
“They were both naked and they felt no shame”
This was far more than physical self-confidence or Adam simply feeling like a stud because Eve had no one to compare him to; this was complete transparency, vulnerability, and safety. They knew exactly who they were and they had no reservations about letting the other person see all of them – their thoughts, dreams, doubts, temptations, everything. Simply put, they were real with each other.
But this didn’t last. They quickly decided that they wanted to live life on their own terms, rather than God’s, and the consequences of this decision were immediate and far-reaching; they are still felt today. The very first effect of this decision that we read is that they hid from each other. For the first time in the story of the world, man and woman felt shame in their relationship and became afraid of each other. This was a shame that was far more than skin-deep. This was a shame that struck right at the core of their identity.
In many ways, we are still hiding. We are still afraid. Afraid of disapproval, afraid of rejection, afraid that if we really bore our souls to another person, they couldn’t possibly still love us. So we hide, even from the one person who has promised their unconditional love to us. Instead of revealing our true selves, we create a persona, a version of ourselves, that we’re comfortable showing the world. This protects us; if people criticize us or don’t like that version of ourselves, they haven’t attacked our true identity. But we haven’t just insulated ourselves from criticism, we’ve also insulated ourselves from affirmation and love. “I’m glad you love the version of myself that I’m showing you, but it’s not the real me.”
If you reveal your true self to no one, your true self will never be loved by anyone.
While in that first act of rebellion we lost something beautiful, the good news is that God wants to restore what was lost in our marriages that day. Jesus is all about resurrecting the good things that sin has killed in our world. He not only empowers us to love like never before, he models the way for us. Nothing inside us is hidden from him; he sees every thought, every impure motive, every desire, and every fear, yet his love for us is unwavering. It is in our relationship with him that we experience again what it feels like to be fully known yet fully loved; deeply understood and deeply accepted. As we allow ourselves to receive this love and learn to be gracious with ourselves, our capacity to open up to each other grows as well. In fact, in most cases you will find that the things you thought would cause people to stop loving you actually lead them to love you more, relieved to find you to be human like the rest of us. In sharing your struggles, you give others the permission and courage to do the same.
Not every relationship is worthy of such intimacy but our primary relationship, our marriage, certainly is. New levels of freedom await us if only we will be courageous enough to pursue them. It’s time to come out of hiding.