When God made Adam and Eve feel ‘ashamed’ for disobeying His command – it was for their own good. Today we hear that it is wrong to shame someone for what they did that is shameful, according to God that is. God shamed His first two children, but then He followed up with His mercy and grace: His love. We can learn a lot from our heavenly Father in how to parent our children because God is perfect in all that He does, and we are not.
God took no pleasure in cursing His children with hardship, pain and death. It brought Him heartache to curse the earth too. He got no delight in making man’s work harder and childbirth painful for the woman. (Genesis 3:16-19) But, God is more concerned for building our character as His true sons and daughters.
To feel ashamed only means that you still have a sensitive conscience to what is good and right. The conscience that feels no more shame is seared or hardened. The conscience is said to be “seared,” unable to process or think right. When you continually reject the truth (believing the lies of the devil) your conscience doesn’t work right anymore. God knows how to re-sensitize a conscience with His Spirit and Word.
Jesus taught that everything said against Him will be forgiven, but when anyone rejects His Holy Spirit – that is not forgiven. Why? It’s the Spirit of God who draws us to the Savior, and it’s the Spirit of God that comes to live in us so that we have been given the right to become the children of God. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
When God turns you over to your depraved mind (a conscience that no longer feels shame or guilt for disobeying God – Romans 1:21-32), God’s Spirit no longer comes to you. You have become “filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.”
God loves and honors righteousness, not wickedness, and He’s not a respecter of persons. If you are filled with evil because you hate God, even after He has come to you over and over to extend His love – then God will show you the same rejection on judgment day.
God will keep His children clothed in His love. He covers us like a shield so that the devil isn’t able to get at us like he used to. He covers us like a mother embracing her frightened child. He covers us like an attorney defending us against accusations. He covers us like a father holding his children accountable for their good. He covers us like a friend who won’t leave us when we offend Him. His love never fails!
As we look out into our world we can see the increasing battle against godly conviction; we see all the evil things happening in the world that Jesus said would depict the time of His coming. We see the rapid increase and intensity of evil as it is coming to a hideous climax.
Beloved, “the end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:7-9
We don’t cover up sin; we cover over sin. How? Love has to do with truth. We speak the truth in love. We say what needs to be said and we do what needs to be done, according to God’s love and truth, not according to our anger, resentment, hurt, fear or pride. Some things don’t need mentioning – just covered, but some things do need brought out in the light for a person’s freedom. The wise know the difference between covering up and covering over because they understand the love of God.
People want to be loved by God without being convicted by God. This is what the Lord told me when I had been accused by my sisters. They accused me of not loving our mother when the Lord told me to separate myself from my mother (and siblings) for a time, for my own good and my children’s good. It’s a long story as to why the Lord told me to do this for seven years, but I will just say that there is a lot of ignorance in the church about the love of God.
Love without truth is merely human affection. Truth without love is annoying arrogance. Love and truth go together for either to have the good effect on people that God wants.
I remember a few times my husband had to call a family meeting because he and I were grieved over something that had happened with our kids when they were teenagers. As we all came together for the truth to come out our love for one another stirred up humble confessions of tears and apologies. They quickly confessed sin and asked Jesus to forgive them. A deeper love for one another was the outcome. Christ-like character was formed. Family unity was strengthened. The conscience needs to be set free from its guilt and shame. Jesus took care of their guilt and we took care of their shame. Forgiveness is powerful! There is a difference in the result when Christ’s “love covers over sin,” than when family just covers up sin. Family loyalty is not the same as godly unity in a family.
Our kids have willingly confessed things to us that most parents would never hear from their kids, especially their teenagers. At times we have shared with them about the struggles we had as teenagers and still have with sin. Now, as a family unit, our five households stand up for each other over the right things, but not the wrong things.
When one of us is in the wrong we pray-pray-pray and wait for God to open the door if truth needs to be spoken. God knows the right time when truth spoken will have its good work in us, because “truth compelled by God’s love” has the potential and power to set a person free from all kinds of habitual evil practices.
Everyone has extremely cold and hot days to endure and get through that are not comfortable to the soul. On one occasion, I rallied our four children (ages then about 4 to 11) together for prayer because Dad had just stormed out of the house hot with anger. My husband had been going through a very long season of disturbances in his extended family with false accusations. He had been unfairly accused by a close nephew he grew up with and highly respected.
The kids and I sat in a circle on the living room floor and held hands as I prayed for their very tired and disheartened daddy. We tearfully and hopefully asked Jesus to protect him, to help him and bring him home to us – healed and encouraged.
When he returned later that evening he told us how Jesus had met with him under a tree (about 50 miles away). Four little faces lit up with joy that their prayer had been answered. It was a beautiful home-coming to say the least; lots of loving hugs and joyful tears.
There are some very private things you don’t need to share with your children, but to think they don’t ever need to know the hurts and struggles you have is not helpful for them. We need to keep them clothed with our trust in them; trusting them and honoring them as our confidants. Their senses are keen, even as little children. They know when something is wrong at home with mom and dad. If you try to protect them from knowing what they want to know you will mislead them. They will feel left out and come to resent you. You want them to grow up to be your friends and allies one day. So, involve them and trust their unconditional love for you that children seem to have. Let them hear you confess and pray to God; let them pray with you. This is how they learn about the love and grace of God, that there’s power in prayer and that love never fails.