“Who told you that you are naked?”
It was unnatural. The knowledge. Whatever it was that caused Adam and Eve to feel shame. Something beyond what they were designed to know.
That question speaks to the heart of God.
I can only imagine the sorrow overwhelming Him behind those tear filled eyes. The awful realization that His children have crossed into evil and it has educated them far more then He wished.
We’ve all experienced that, have we not? That feeling of sickness and gall.
The loss of innocence. This painfully sincere nostalgia wells up for a time when we did not know as much, we did not understand as much, we did not find ourselves bearing the weight of shame.
Be it when the first kiss bled into doing more then you ever had thought you would. Or the time that you just felt so much anger you walked away from a friendship. Realizing mom and dad are fighting and that isn’t normal. Shame. Pain. Loss of innocence.
We all lose innocence. Or the world rips it away from us. It matters not, at some point, the coldness of the world bleeds into the sunshiny skies of childhood youth.
Life seems so much simpler before the loss.
Monday I went to the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing fields.
My generation is too young to recall the time that Pol Pot murdered millions of the innocent people of Cambodia. Even if they had been alive, I don’t know if we’d understand.
In 1975 Pol Pot began rounding up thousands. Families, children, diplomats, intellectuals, political rivals. Anyone with a hint of education and unwillingness to commit atrocities bore the full brunt of the Khmer Rouge.
As I walked through the grim remains of S-21, a former high school, turned into a torture camp, vivid scenes from the past played in my mind.
The floors have seen more blood then most hospitals. The abuse, torture, and systematic elimination of thousands eerily hung in the air.
It was here that so many Cambodians were dragged to a dark room, chained to the floor, and tortured for months.
Unspeakable horrors committed to them. Children. Women. Men. Piles of clothing and dingy floors caked in stagnant blood.
How could the world watch this happen?
Eventually I saw one of the seven survivors, he sold paintings of the pain he experienced. Vivid paintings of his back being split open. Artistic showings of an agony few have ever know.
One painting stood out among them all. Tragic and haunting. It was of a woman getting her throat slit by soldiers.
I was angry. I was heartbroken.
I was indignant.
I saw graffiti on the wall. Obscenities directed at God. People offended and angry at God for the randomly senseless violence.
Angry at Him for not stopping the hellish atrocities that happened in those dark cells.
In the end, God became the target of hate for so many. Bearing once more the brunt of wrath from His very own children and creation.
That snake. Crafty. Pisses me off how crafty he is to be frank.
Nobody ever blames the snake.
I often hear the argument that Adam was standing by Eve in the garden, and failed, a passive male destined to further spread his passivity down a line of descendants. This is of course, in defense of Eve, the original eater of the apple. I don’t know who is more at fault between them.
But nobody blames the snake.
My heart breaks for great grandpa Adam and great grandma Eve.
Child-like innocence ripped away. True fellowship with God lost. The coldness of life is made all the icier by the warmth we once experienced. They may’ve felt the deepest loss the universe has ever known. A fall from perfection, to death. Can we even imagine the introduction of shame? We know shame, we know hurt, but we grow up adapting to it. Imagine shame when you are perfect.
I looked at old photographs. Faces of children. Lost to genocide.
I went to the killing fields, where literally millions of people headed to death. Driven through the night, separated from family, stripped, and then bludgeoned to death. A tower of skulls rises up into the sky. When it rains, bones come up out of the soil.
It is unreal how much death occurred in those fields.
Deaths of excruciating pain. Bullets were too expensive back then, and to the Khmer regime, far more valuable than the cost of a decent death. Hammer, sickle, hatchet. Worst of all a tree sat growing amidst the graves, a tree dedicated to smashing infants against.
It is all so evil.
Unspeakable what happened here.
And inside I shuddered and just wondered…
Who taught you this?
Who told you how to do this???
How could someone made in the very image of God be so evil, so violent, so base and primal? How could injustice well up so intensely from these people as to murder the innocent? The children? There is something so beyond our design and nature. Something utterly dark and demonic about this. There is something unsettling and corrupt in all of us, a whispering snake that hisses behind the scenes and tells humanity to fall.
“Who told you that you are naked?”
Maybe no one told Adam and Eve. Maybe they figured it out themselves. That’s not really the point.
The fact is, God was getting at something deeper.
“Adam this isn’t you. Eve this isn’t the way it should be.”
I started to think of how lost we are. How deluded humanity is by this hellish creature and his host of demons.
As I left the Killing Fields. I was angry at Satan. I was angry that he marred the name of my God, that my God had to come down and wear all of our sin. I began to think about it, how unnatural all this is. People don’t just kill. They were taught to kill. John 8:44 refers to Satan as the father of lies, the murderer from the beginning. Since the dawn of time his whispering into our ears has caused so many people to neglect the image of God in us. To neglect our very nature. To cling to sin and evil.
I started to think about how much that must have hurt God. He had to bear the wrath for the justice of this. He had to feel the hot anger of God over this darkness.
Then it all came full circle.
(Listen to the song there)
Jesus came to this earth and walked among us. He felt real pain and sweat. He was indignant at death, watching people whom He created and loves lose innocence. Seeing the decay and stench of charnel houses on this Earth. He came clothed in humility yet filled with majesty.
All around Him stood people living out evil. It’s simple really. The snake tricked us. And we still live out his lies.
How often He must have looked upon the very image of God in someone, only to ask Himself, “Who taught you this? Why are you so far removed from who I created you to be? Who told you that you are naked? I remember when I wove your heart in the depths of the earth and placed wonder and awe into it. Now it is cold, dark, hateful, grim. Oh beloved! How did you get so far away from who you really are?”
And so we crucified Him.
We dragged Him to a hill and stripped Him down. And instead of fighting us, instead of pressing back with the force of a God. He humbly submitted.
And clothed Himself with our shame.
This, this is where the entire world is turned upside down. Where we shake and shudder at encountering a living God.
God Himself, decided to pay for this. For our genocide. For our corruption. Behind that simple question in the garden, thousands of years ago, God knew the cost of that apple. He knew it would cost Him everything. That He would bear more pain than we can imagine.
He would go from being fully innocent to covered in the shame and wrath of the worlds sins. Rejected by the whole of His very creation. Mocked and spit upon by those He came to save. Genocide was paid for on the cross. And I can only ache inside and fill with wonder at what great depth of suffering that would be to endure all of that.
In His humanity. He didn’t go to the cross with the fullness of God, He went emptied of it, to bear the brunt of the wrath of God.
We who once stood as kings and queens of promise find ourselves on this dusty earth, aching for just a little bit of value. The eternal glory robbed from us by the deceiver.
Sometimes people get mad at God. But is not He the most innocent of all of us? Isn’t He the one who had His creation spoiled? And then paid the most awful of prices to buy back what He rightly deserved?
I think we often wrestle with the question of “Why is there evil in the world?” and misunderstand that we are not designed for this. It is so unnatural. Something happened and messed us all up. We know that. Our flesh longs for rest, our dimly lit mirror longs for full vision.
So here I am, laboring with my friends to change this world. One child at a time. Yesterday we walked through villages and prayed for the sick, taught children the bible and English, and showed love to the outcast. Where so many people have failed to be the image of God on Earth, we are learning to finally look a little bit like Him to other people. I am learning to walk once again in innocence and find joy in life. Joy where I once felt so robbed.
Maybe you need to apologize to God, to say sorry for how you blame Him instead of the snake. Maybe you need to forgive yourself, for beloved of God, this was not your design. You never should’ve felt that shame. That hurt. That loss of innocence. Maybe you need to be more like His image on earth.
All I know is that I don’t want to be unclothed anymore. I want to be clothed in Christ.
(The scandal of Grace is astounding to me)
(This song gets me pumped, to change the world)