"And He (God) said, 'Who told you that you were naked?'” Genesis (NIV) emphasis mine.
A failure of catastrophic proportion drove them to hide from their only source of help. The sound of God manifested Itself in the garden. Run. Hide. The cool evening air sent shivers through their bodies. Their glory gone, any changes in the atmosphere were now felt.
“Where are you?” the familiar voice cried out.
A mistake of that magnitude hasn't been replicated, by humans at least. Satan experienced his own fall from grace before the first couple met their downfall. In an attempt to conceal their altered status, the pair traded glory for fig leaves. That didn't work.
Had an omniscient God really lost track of Adam and Eve? Not likely. He knew exactly where they were, but did they? With His perfect creation reduced to chaos one could expect God to react with anger: yell, scream, threaten, throw things and stomp around. Maybe give Adam some applied “five-fold ministry.” He didn't. Instead He asked a simple question - seven words. “Who told you that you were naked?” Did it really matter? They were.
In the beginning, God and then Adam had the power to create with spoken words. The bible states that the couple actually saw their condition had changed and that they were now naked. God didn't declare that over them. This left only Adam and he got what he said.
It's fascinating that God's first reaction wasn't, “What have you done?” but “What have you become?” What if instead of hiding the pair had run to Him immediately for help? What if they took full responsibility for their actions and not blamed them on others? Could things have been different? Maybe.
God asks us the same question today. “Who told you that you were....stupid, unworthy, unlovable, a failure?” Insert your own favorite brand of derogatory remarks. God didn't call Adam and Eve naked and He's not the author of many of the demeaning labels we don. Too often we too try to hide. We already feel guilty, we don't need to face an angry, disappointed God. But is He really upset?
God never responds negatively to a “broken spirit or a contrite heart,” Psalm 51:17. These the psalmist stated, “God will not despise.” He's quick to forgive and start the restoration process. He'll even endeavor to mitigate the disastrous consequences of our sins. He's more interested in healing and inclusion than in punishment and exclusion.
How about you? What negative labels have you taken ownership of? How does this belief system affect your life? If you knew for certain that these aren't God's view of you, how would your relationship or lack of one with Him change? Why not stop hiding and find out?