That Awkward Moment When Shame Entered the World


We’ve all had weird, awkward moments with others. You probably hate those moments as much as I do. You say something but it doesn’t come out right, and what comes out is embarrassing. Your embarrassing little quip is then followed by what is probably a few seconds, but seems like an eternity of strained silence. You then feel the need to explain, but you just end up digging a deeper hole for yourself. You wish one of your listeners would rise to your rescue, but no one does. Finally something else happens that grabs everybody’s attention, and the horribly awkward moment ends. But it doesn’t really end for you; you carry it with you for the rest of the night. In fact, it is the pain of the moment that wakes you up the next morning. A few years later, that awkward moment has morphed into a humorous moment, and you retell the story over and over again to the delight and amusement of your friends.


I want you to think today about the most horribly awkward moment in human history. This one wasn’t a minor moment of embarrassment, and it will never morph into a humorous story. As you read the account, you know you are dealing with something so shocking and out of place that the world will never be the same again. Every time I read this account, I want to weep. Every time I think about it, I am hit with the painful thought that it really did happen and that we still see its results in our lives today. When you read it, you better know that this is not the way things were meant to be, or you will never understand the biblical story, and Christmas will never make the kind of sense that it should make to you.

Here is the Bible’s account:

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Gen. 3:8–13)

Adam and Eve had just endured the first awkward, embarrassing, shame-inducing moment between them. For the first time they realized that they were without clothing, and they felt instant shame. This is an immediate clue that their disobedience had destroyed their innocence, and human relationships would never be the same again. But that sad and shameful moment pales in comparison to what happened next.


God was walking through the garden, and rather than being filled with awe and joy at the thought of his presence, Adam and Eve were filled with fear. Their reaction was weird, awkward, and unusual. They had been designed for intimate, moment-by-moment, loving, and worshipful communion with him. They were made to delight in God and he in them. They were created to live in an unbreakable bond of love with him. So their reaction seems strange and out of place. It tells us that something has gone drastically wrong.

God notices that they have not approached him with the usual expectant joy, and so he calls out to them, inquiring where they are. Adam answers and confesses that he was naked and afraid. The effects of sin are immediate and catastrophic. The bond between God and mankind has been broken. Fear has replaced love. Hiding has replaced communion. Adam and Eve have not only damaged their spirituality, but have lost a huge chunk of their humanity. It is a tragedy of historic and universal proportion. Made to live in the center of God’s love, people hide from him. In the psyche of every human being since lives this weird and uncomfortable battle between hunger for God and a desire to hide from him.


Sin has broken the most important relationship in all of life, the relationship between people and their Creator. This separation alters everything in each of our lives. That’s why it is so wonderful and encouraging to know that Jesus came to earth to be the Prince of Peace. Through his life, death, and resurrection, he would make peace between God and us. By his righteous life, he would earn our acceptance with God and purchase our right to be God’s children.

It is this vertical peace that then allows us to live in peace and harmony with one another. The fearful awkwardness between us and God has been forever broken by Jesus, so we can run with confidence into God’s presence and know that he will never turn us away.

Content taken from Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul David Tripp, ©2017. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187,

Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization. He has been married for many years to Luella and they have four grown children. For more information and resources visit