When you hide your shameful past
In 2003, we needed to change our caterer, who was getting really old. We got her rehabilitated into another means of livelihood that would not stress her too much. We got a new caterer from a West African country, who was an expert.
We loved her more because she was a pastor’s child. We provided a place for her in our guest quarters. After about five months of working for us, she disappeared one Sunday morning before service. She lied to the security man that she was going to buy something.
On Monday afternoon (the next day), an ambulance belonging to a well-known hospital in Lagos was driven into our compound. Some nurses of the hospital and other workers came out and behind them was our caterer with a newborn baby wrapped in hospital clothes in her hands. According to the hospital workers, she rushed into the hospital the previous Sunday morning under labour and within a short period, she gave birth to a baby boy.
She wanted to go back to her country right from the hospital. She only agreed to come back to our house after she was threatened with police arrest. We bought baby things for the baby and got our church workers who handed her over to her family member who resided in Nigeria. We asked why she did not inform us that she was pregnant. All she could say was “I was ashamed.”
Since I started looking at the subject of shame about eighteen years ago, I have discovered that most of the things people want to hide because of the shame it will bring have ended up happening and bringing greater shame than it would originally have, if the matter had been handled by wiser people. The question now is: why do people like to hide the shame that cannot be hidden? Why did the caterer never think that one day the truth would surely come out?
When Adam and Eve were created, the Bible tells us in Genesis 2:25, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife and were not ashamed.” Before the fall of man, there was nothing like shame. But after they had removed themselves from the government and care of God and put themselves under the government of Satan, through eating the forbidden fruit, shame entered the world. Genesis 3:7-8 says, “And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”.
Verse 8, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden … and Adam and his wife hid themselves…” Before their fall, there was nothing like shame in their dictionary, because they were covered with God’s glory. But after they sinned, the first thing they did was to run from God and cover their shame with leaves. That is how shame and the feeling of shame came into the world. Since then, there is nobody that passes through this world that something shameful does not happen to. It is a classroom everybody must pass through in life.
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