Cross Words: How sin taints our worship

By Isaiah Pauley

Nothing makes me feel farther from God than sin. The shame in my heart. The gunk in my mind. Something about sin causes me to play hide-and-seek with God. After all, His holiness and perfection seem all-too-scary for a darkened heart like mine to encounter.

That’s what sin does. It taints our worship by creating a barrier between us and God. And we need not look any further than the first book of the Bible to discover this truth.

In Genesis 2, Adam and Eve live in a perfect world. There’s no sin. There’s no death. There’s no cancer, divorce, or suffering. Everything is absolutely flawless. Because of this, there’s no shame. Verse 25 reads, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (ESV).

Adam and Eve are naked before one another without any shame. That’s obvious. But I want to examine this verse on a deeper level. You see, it also suggests that Adam and Eve stand before God without anything to hide. Being unashamed, Adam and Eve relate to one another and their Creator without hindrance. It’s a perfect relationship with God. Worship in its most authentic form. But it doesn’t last long.

In Genesis 3, sin enters the world. The Bible says, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (v. 6 ESV).

Adam and Eve lose sight of God. They see something that appears to satisfy the deepest longings of their hearts. And they reach for it, anticipating fulfillment in something outside of God’s will. Essentially, they believe that what they’re reaching for can bring more joy than God Himself. Sin in its most authentic form.

The Bible continues: “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (v. 7-8 ESV).

With sin in their hearts, Adam and Eve realize something isn’t right. They experience shame. They recognize a discrepancy between who they are and what God has called them to be. And as they attempt to reconcile the issue, they hide themselves from God.

Now, we can’t really hide from God (see Heb. 4:13). But our attempt to hide from the presence of God reveals an acknowledgement that God is holy. It reveals the sinful nature of man. And it shows us that a big problem is at hand.

I’ve been in worship services before where I felt so far from God because of my sin that I didn’t even want to be there. People around me sang about God, but all I felt was a deep darkness in my soul. And I couldn’t wait until the service was over. After all, the sin in my life at the time created a deep sense of shame in my heart that made me want to hide from God.

As a worship minister, I wonder if people feel the same way in our gathered worship each week. I wonder if that’s one of the reasons why people stay away from church in the first place. Because sin taints our worship.

In 1 John, there’s a beautiful passage about darkness and light. It’s a passage about shame and grace. And I want to end with these words today.

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:5-9 ESV).

If you feel lost in the deep darkness of sin, there’s hope. If you’re tired and weary from hiding, there’s a better way. When we confess our sins to God, we find forgiveness. As we repent, the light of Christ shines in our hearts. A right relationship with God is resorted. A right relationship with others is restored. And worshipping the Creator as our holy God becomes possible again.

You can stop hiding now.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at