Completely Known and Completely Accepted
There's more than a physical component to the phrase "naked and unashamed" in the description of life in Eden. I wanted to start there, because Christians haven't always given enough thought to the physical aspect of their origins or the destiny. We'll probably talk more about it later, but for today I want to move on to talking about something else implied in the phrase. The first man and woman had an ideal existence. They lived in comfort and security in a garden. Their every need was supplied. They had no fear of their environment -- not even the animals sharing their living space. They were even comfortable in their own skin.
And -- this is huge -- they were not afraid of one another. There were no secrets, no hidden boxes of old love letters from that college fling, no receipts kept in a box, no password-protected emails, nothing that could come out that would damage their relationship. They were completely known by one another, and they were completely accepted by one another.
That's an exceedingly rare combination.
I confess: I keep secrets. I hide things about myself that I don't want known. I spin things to make myself look better, smarter, more important.
What's worse is that I've come to a place where I do these things routinely -- without thinking about it, without feeling bad about it.
My reasoning is that if people really knew me, really knew the real me, they probably wouldn't accept me the way I am.
I know this is how I am with other people. As I learn more about people, I don't just discover the things that endear them to me; I also discover the quirks that become faults that become all I can see about them. My focus intensifies upon the elements I once found charming but now find intolerable. The more I know about a person, the easier it is to reject them sometimes.
Knowing this about myself, and considering myself to be normal (a classic mistake), I carefully choose which parts of myself I will reveal, based on what I think will be most appealing and acceptable to others.
As a consequence, I actually hinder others from truly knowing, truly accepting, truly loving me.
See, you can only be loved to the extent you are accepted. And you can only be accepted to the extent that you are known. I understand these things intellectually. I even understand these things emotionally. Yet, I cannot seem to force myself to fully disclose myself.
I'm working on it. And my relationships have flourished as a result.
But in the beginning, Adam and Eve didn't have to work on it. It came as naturally for them as breathing in and breathing out.
And in the life to come it will be just that easy for us, too.
Contrary to the idea expressed recently in one of the comments, we won't be so awe-struck by God that we fail to notice the people around us. I tend to think we'll be so awe-struck by God that we are finally able to really notice the people around us, to see them the way God has seen them all along. Then will we return to the beauty and simplicity of being both completely known and completely accepted.
Now, again, how is this thought similar or different from how we've traditionally thought of heaven?