The Fear of Being Exposed

The fear of being exposed is woven deeply in us.

Even as Christians, we put on masks to cover that which we do not want the world to see.  We are not perfect.  We stumble.  We sin, and we choose to hide that truth behind the artistry of our masks.

What do we most fear other people finding out?  We fear the truth will soon be known.  We have calculated the costs.  Our platforms, our positions, and our reputations rest in the balance simply because we’ve sinned, and we’re afraid someone will find out.

Daily, we apply another layer to the masked deceit.  All the while, we fear and know that we are a breath away from someone discovering the truth.


Adam and Eve Exposed

In Genesis chapter 2, God had completed the creation of the heavens and earth.  He took Adam and placed him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.  God granted permission for Adam to eat from any tree in the garden except one.

God then formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky.  But for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.  So the Lord God fashioned a woman using Adam’s rib.

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25

The writer of Genesis then introduces us to the devil in chapter three.  That crafty serpent tempted Eve with Adam nearby.  Eve took from the forbidden tree, and she ate and gave to Adam.  He accepted the fruit, and he ate.

Their eyes were opened.

In that moment within the garden, their eyes were opened.  They were naked, exposed.  For the first time ever nestled within the garden, the couple experienced a chill to their souls, an emotion so troubling to their conscience.

Shame is a powerful emotion resulting in humiliation caused by the consciousness of wrong behavior.  link to dictionary

Humiliated by the choice to disobey a direct command from the Creator, Adam and Eve surely felt the weight of their disobedience.  They had sinned. Their eyes were opened.

The chill of shame must have shocked their beings.  With such a desire for the warmth they had before known, their hands immediately began work to create covering from the other’s eyes.

They needed to hide from that which they had just seen, that glimpse into the other’s exposed and naked heart.  Each one now touched by the darkness of sin, an intentional will of disobedience encased within their hearts’ desire to covet and to envy.  They had desired to become like God.  They had desired to be God.

The sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day sent Adam and Eve further into hiding from the presence of their Creator, the Giver of life.

Their sin was exposed. They felt shame.

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Like Adam and Eve, we have experienced that same chill within our souls. We have felt the weight on our hearts. We have lived that moment when our our sinful disobedience caused us to frantically work to cover ourselves.  We sculpted facades with great precision, to hide.

But, to hide from whom?

God already knows.

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

“The LORD looks from Heaven;
He sees all the sons of man.” Psalm 33:13


 “For God will bring every work into judgment,
including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
that each one may receive the things done in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

So, Why do we most fear what our neighbor may discover?  Are we more concerned with someone finding out who we really are rather than facing the reality that God already knows?

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King David must have felt an intense fear of being exposed for the sinful relationship that he had with Bathsheba.  With the news of her pregnancy, the king of Judah initiated a dramatic and murderous act.  He worked to cover himself and to hide his adulterous behavior. His plan would ensure no one would discover the truth.

“…the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” 2 Samuel 11:27

God knew.  He directed the prophet Nathan to approach David and to address the sin.  “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?” 2 Samuel 12:9

David was exposed; and instead of him attempting to run further into hiding from the presence of his Creator, David humbly responded, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David’s heartfelt confession and petition to God for forgiveness from the sins he had committed are recorded in Psalm 51

“…and cleanse me from my sin.” verse 2

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” verse 3

“Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight…” verse 4

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” verse 7

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” verse 10

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” verse 12

What a beautiful testimony of God’s mercy and grace to forgive one, who had performed such crimes.

There is futility in trying to hide from the presence of the One who already knows.  Today, may I humbly respond to my own sinful disobedience like David, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

May Psalm 139 become a daily prayer to living a more transparent life and an absence from the fear of being exposed .

[1] O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

[2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.

[4] Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

[23] Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

[24] And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.