Wednesday, Feb. 6

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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.  But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”  He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”  The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”  Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  - Genesis 3:8-13

One of the most striking things about this story is that the moment Adam & Eve disobeyed God, Immediately they lost the open relationship they had enjoyed with one another (“naked and not ashamed,” Genesis 2:25).  They “cover-up” even before God comes walking in the garden and calling out to them.  

Their fig leaves symbolize a barrier between them which never existed before they sinned against God.  When God comes to find Adam and confronts him about his sin, Adam has a choice.  He could have fallen on his knees before God and confessed his sin.  He could have come clean and humbly asked God to forgive Him, but he didn’t do that.  Instead, Adam did what we all do, he tried to rationalize and justify his sin by blaming someone else.

God confronts Adam and he blames Eve. Nice guy, huh?  He’s trying to save his own skin, even if God zaps his wife off the face of the earth.  At least Eve was nice enough to blame the serpent! But Adam’s blaming Eve did not foster their relationship.

Blame is the human way to deal with guilt. It doesn’t work, our guilt is still there. But it’s the way every sinner tends to deal with guilt. You don’t have to teach it to your kids. They have a built-in circuit that says, When you do something wrong, blame someone else. But don’t ever admit, and say, “I was wrong.”

The way this works is, people sin and they know they’re guilty, but they rationalize by thinking, “Yes, I was wrong; I shouldn’t have yelled at my wife.  But she provoked me.” It’s like a scale, where I have a pile of guilt on one side, but rather than clearing it off the scale, I balance it by piling blame on the other side. It doesn’t remove the guilt, but it makes me feel better, at least for a while.  Of course people don’t just blame other people. They also blame their circumstances...

“I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate.”

“I would be more generous if we had more money.”
“If you knew what that person did to me, you would understand my bitterness. How could I forgive something like that?”

Making excuses like this is arrogant and foolish.  It’s a proud way of trying to justify our actions and pacify our guilty consciences.  And it keeps us from humbling ourselves before God to repent of our sins and seek his forgiveness.

Blaming our circumstances is really another way of blaming God, who ordains our circumstances.  Adam is implicitly blaming God when he says, “The woman whom You gave to be with me ...”  “If You hadn’t given her to me, God, I wouldn’t be in this mess. It’s Your fault.” 

Consider James 1:13-15 - Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

This leaves us with no way of escaping our own sin and guilt. We cannot blame God, for he “cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” Instead, we have to accept the humbling truth that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”  This will end the blame game, and it will bring us to the realization that our only hope is the mercy and grace of Christ. 

Jeff Frazier

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