Thinking you’re naked.

I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty awesome at applying band-aids. And make no mistake, that is an art. Because if you go too quickly and unpeel them the wrong way, they stick to themselves and you end up with a wadded up useless mess, instead of the Little Mermaid festooned bandage your daughter so desperately wants to apply to a boo boo that may in fact be 100% fictional.

Half of the injuries I treat at the Acuff house are invisible or simply wounds of sympathy. My oldest daughter will scrape her knee, and my younger daugther, realizing the band aid box is open will say, “Yo dad, I’d like to get in on that too. What do you say we put one on, I don’t know, my ankle. Yeah, my ankle, let’s pretend that’s hurt.”

But sometimes the cuts are real, like the day a few years ago when my then 5-year old got a scrape on her face playing in the front yard. I rushed in the house and returned with a princess bandage. As I bent down to apply it to her forehead, her eyes filled up with tears and she shrunk back from me.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t want to wear that band-aid.” She replied.

“Why? You have a cut. You need a band-aid.” I said.

“I’ll look silly,” she answered.

Other than her sister and her mom, there was no one else in the yard. None of her friends were over, cars were not streaming by our house and watching us play, the world was pretty empty at that moment. But, for the first time I can remember, she felt shame. She had discovered shame. Somewhere, somehow, this little 5-year-old had learned to be afraid of looking silly. If I was smarter, if I had been better prepared for the transition from little toddler to little girl, I might have asked her this:

“Who told you that you were silly?”

I didn’t, though. That question didn’t bloom in my head until much later, and I didn’t understand it until I saw God ask a similar question in Genesis 3:11. To me, this is one of the saddest and most profoundly beautiful verses in the entire Bible. Adam and Eve have fallen. The apple is a core. The snake has spoken. The dream appears crushed. As they hide from God under clothes they’ve hastily sewn together, He appears and asks them a simple question:

“Who told you that you were naked?”

There is hurt in God’s voice as He asks this question, but there is also a deep sadness, the sense of a father holding a daughter that has for the first time ever, wrapped herself in shame.

Who told you that you were not enough?

Who told you that I didn’t love you?

Who told you that there was something outside of me you needed?

Who told you that you were ugly?

Who told you that your dream was foolish?

Who told you that you would never have a child?

Who told you that you would never be a father?

Who told you that you weren’t a good mother?

Who told you that without a job you aren’t worth anything?

Who told you that you’ll never know love again?

Who told you that this was all there is?

Who told you that you were naked?

I don’t know when you discovered shame. I don’t know when you discovered that there were people who might think you are silly or dumb or not a good writer or a husband or a friend. I don’t know what lies you’ve been told by other people or maybe even by yourself.

But in response to what you are hearing from everyone else, God is still asking the question, “Who told you that you were naked?”

And He’s still asking us that question because we are not.

In Christ, we are not worthless.

In Christ, we are not hopeless.

In Christ, we are not dumb or ugly or forgotten.

In Christ, we are not naked.

Isaiah 61:10 says:

“For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.”

The world may try to tell you a thousand different things today. You might close this post and hear a million declarations of who you are or who you’ll always be, but know this:

As unbelievable as it sounds, and as much as I never expected to type this sentence on this blog:

You are not naked.

(This is a throw back post that originally appeared on SCL a few years ago.) 

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  1. says

    This is beautiful. Great questions to ask ourselves as we dive into this new year. If we’re afraid, “Who told you to be afraid of ____________?” Thanks.

  2. says

    I’m not crying. I’m not. It’s simply very dusty in here.

    I didn’t see this post the first time around, so as I read it just now I was profoundly moved. Unbelievable how we keep believing the lies, and oh, if we’d only just listened for that still small voice that says “they’re wrong. With Me, you are enough.”

  3. Karen says

    This is why I disconnected our television . I believed the messages coming in forced a world view on my children that ” you have to be this, or that” or you will look silly. It’s in all the cartoons- watch and see. Love your FB and blog! You make me laugh everyday : )

  4. says

    I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ. I am no longer naked. I am forgiven. I am an heir. I am “in Christ”. I am living for His glory. I am “re-created” in Christ Jesus. Thanks for sharing, Jon.

  5. Kevin says

    This has always been the post that I remember the most. You could probably get away with posting it once a month and no one would care. We all deal with so much stuff in our lives that the reminder is needed.

  6. Heather says

    This is my favorite post you’ve blogged. In fact, when you first blogged it, I printed it out and stuck it in my journal so I would have it forever. It’s a good one.

  7. says

    It seems to be a pre-requisite of us creative types that we’re never fully happy with our own works. Even if no one has told us how much we suck…we will still think it does. It’s a conundrum that’s hard to overcome. :(

    But, you’re right; God doesn’t think like that. :) It’s a good point to keep in mind. Even if I think that my art or my novel or whatever sucks, that doesn’t mean *I* suck! God still loves me, even if I can’t figure out how to draw hands!

  8. says

    There is another voice to add to this issue: John Bradshaw’s book “Healing the Shame That Binds You. He did a series of presentations about shame and other toxic issues on PBS, in the 80’s I believe, where he talks about life experience in the nuclear family that result in toxic shame. They can be found, or ordered, in most libraries.

  9. Chioma says

    Beautiful post! I love how children can teach us what God wants us to know. In a world teaching us to be everything but what God has called us to be, we have to stop and listen to the voice that really matters.

  10. says

    Thank you so much! I really neede to hear this since fear has been arguing both sides of the coin again.

    I wish you and your family all the best this year!

  11. Brooke says

    This is literally my favorite post of yours and I’m so glad to see it making a reappearence here. It has ministered to my spirit, broken and mended, in profound ways over the last couple years. Thank you for your honest words and faithfulness to your calling!

  12. Michele says

    The limits we put on ourselves can be endless. What a great message to enjoy, particularly at the beginning of the year. Awesome. Next button to hit will be share.

  13. Christy says

    Reading that question by God brought me to tears. I lose touch all the time with how loved and accepted by him I am. Thanks for the reminder.

  14. Vanessa says

    As with many others, this is my favourite post of yours that I’ve read. I think of it often and have frequently shared it with others. Thank you for the reminder.

  15. TandCoffee says

    I have lived the past year being told I was “naked” and have become totally defeated, hopeless. Thank you for helping me see Him, & myself, clearly again! Praising God for you today!

  16. Abigail says

    Thanks so much for posting. I was thinking the whole time “wow, there are still Christians today.” This was encouraging because I have felt many times that I haven’t been “worth anything” or that my dreams were selfish because of what others said. I sometimes forget the true essence of Christianity, because I myself am such a huge perfectionist that I am easily discouraged. I am seriously backsliding lately because of doubt and fear. So this was encouraging, in the message and the simple communication. We are to overcome self that we might not fall… Thanks so much

  17. Monika says

    What is sad is reading this from someone else’s post and that person blames me for everything bad that has happened to her in her life. Because I treated her so terrible I don’t deserve a relationship with her and she believes lies others have told her about me. So, how much of this post does she believe? Only what she wants to…then when it comes to me she forgets this post.

  18. Anon says

    Just to clarify, the bible never mentions it was an apple, but the fruit from “the knowledge of good and evil.”

  19. Katie says

    amazing how a little toddler is taught at such a young age that she’ll only be objectified the rest of her life. She figured this out as a toddler. Really says something about female objectification.

  20. says

    Here I am at work reading through pages of Jon’s blog and giggling my face off. Then I come across this gem and I am smacked in the face with its profound, sad, beautiful truth. Definitely reblogging. Thank you.

  21. Roballeman says

    These lies we agree with may have been spoken by different people, but they really came from one place. I need to remember to take my evaluation from the One who loves instead of from “the father of lies”. Good thought here John.

  22. says

    Wow! Thank you! Right up where I am thinking! Who told you…? is a very good question everyone should ask. And you ask it out of love and concern, not anger or hate. God was not angry at Adam as much as he was angry at the sin.

    Have we answered the question yet? Adam didn’t answer the question, or at least truthfully. He seemed to have blamed Eve, but he blamed God in the process “The woman that you created….”


  1. […] One of the blogs I follow makes me chuckle more than pontificate, but that’s why I follow it. This would explain why I was floored when reading this post – it has been on my mind for days now. Powerful stuff and very much what I needed to hear as this new year got going. I did chuckle, but the thoughtfulness that followed has been wonderful. Check out Jon Acuff’s post HERE. […]

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