I was reading the familiar account of Adam and Eve this morning and it got me to thinking (rare, I know).
In Genesis 3 it says that when they did the one thing they were told not to do they had similar responses… blame. The man blamed the woman that “God gave him”. The woman blamed the sneaky old serpent. As a result of their sin judgment was passed down. The man would have to labor and work the land the rest of his life and the woman would have great pain in child birth (seems like she got the short end of the stick), and they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
That’s all familiar. My thought was this: What would God’s response have been if they would have “manned up” and owned their sin? If the man, instead of passing blame off to the woman, would have said, “You know what? I screwed up (not sure how you say that in Hebrew). I’m so sorry God!” Or if the woman, instead of using the infamous cop-out “the devil made me do it”, would have admitted her failure and been repentant.
Seems like there are several biblical examples of God showing great mercy and undeserved grace to people who acknowledge their sin and are repentant. I think about the story of Jonah that we have reduced to a children’s Sunday School lesson. He was sent to an incredibly harsh, sinful, pagan society in Nineveh. Upon hearing of their wrong doing, they promptly repented and God’s wrath relented. Mercy triumphed over judgment.
I think there is a lesson for us to learn here. We are going to mess up. We are going to fall short (all do… that sounds like a Bible verse). The primary focus should be how we handle that moral failure. Do we pass blame off on our parents for raising us a certain way? Or society for being so immoral? Or, like Eve, the devil?
That’s weak. When we mess up, we need to own it. After all, God knows every struggle that we have and invites us to share in His sufficiency. I’ll finish with a verse that I think is appropriate:
Hebrews 4:15- “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.”