Intimacy is the ability to be known and it is the deepest desire of every living person. However, it can only be achieved within the boundaries of love and safety. In order to build an intimate relationship of any kind there are things I have to believe about you and things I have to believe about me…
What I have to know about you:
That you love me without condition.
That you are a safe person, meaning I will not be intentionally shamed, ridiculed, hurt or punished if I allow you to see who I really am or know what I’m really thinking.
What I have to know about me:
That I am worthy of being loved; without an understanding of my value I won’t know how to accept or process your love in a healthy way.
That I have something of value to offer that worth being protected.
Knowing God and being known by Him starts on this same premise of intimacy. If we don’t know who we are and don’t know who he is we will never have an intimate relationship. There are two passages of scripture that I believe reveal the heart of what makes us want to hide ourselves from God and what can make us reject His perfect love.
I’m afraid you’ll see something in me that you don’t like, so I need to hide.
Genesis 3: 9-11
“Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked…”
In other words, Adam believes he has something to hide from God. Shame has entered the scene. There is something about himself that he doesn’t want God to see. Something he hasn’t been able to resolve. Instead of running to the Father with our weaknesses often we feel like we need to fix ourselves first. This is a root of shame- you can’t really know me or you won’t love me anyway. Instead I need to fear and protect myself from you. My image of self is distorted because I don’t understand that my shame can only be healed within the context of being known and accepted despite my failure. What did God do for Adam? He clothed him so that he wouldn’t have to feel the shame of being naked.
Here’s the lie we can believe about ourselves: I’m not good enough to be known.
I don’t trust you and I have to protect myself, so I need to hide.
Matthew 25:14-15, 19, 24-25
“…He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities…“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money…“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’”
This servant obviously thinks he understand the nature of the master perfectly. He has passed judgment on the nature of his master, and doesn’t trust his intentions. Although the master clearly gives the servant what he is capable of managing, the servant doesn’t think it’s valuable enough. It’s interesting that we know the master gave him what he could handle, yet it doesn’t say the master told the servant his reasoning for what was given. It almost seems to be out of resentment that the servant does nothing with his silver. He could have easily thought things like: You barely gave me anything and look how much you gave the other servants! You’re stingy! You love the other managers more than me, look how you’ve blessed them! You haven’t given me any reason to love or trust you. You’ve let down my expectations of who I thought you should have been in this situation, therefore you aren’t good. We can have a distorted image of God because we are judging him based on our own understanding and perception of who he should’ve been or what he should’ve done.
Here’s the lie we can believe about God: You’re not good enough to know.
Both of these lies are equally destructive, just in different ways. Your Father wants to know you and he wants you to open up your heart to know him. He will not hurt us when we show him what’s wrong with us. We can bring him our failure and trust that he can clothe us in the righteousness of Christ. We can bring him our misunderstanding of who he is and he can show us his real heart. He can help us resolve the things that have happened in our lives that led us to distrust or disbelief. He can give us his perspective so we can see him clearly.
If you have a reason to hide, it’s worth letting go.
The Father wants his children back.