Trouble in Paradise?

Photograph by Lars Nissen

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

  • Matthew 12:35-37

I was flipping through some old pictures, reminiscing about when my children were young.  I held one picture, kind of faded of my two sons, both of whom had a sour look on their faces because they were in trouble.  Memories of that day rushed back to me, immediately reminding me of one of the earliest lessons that I learned in the Bible. 

In Genesis we read about the Garden of Eden.  The story goes that the Creator of the universe tells Adam and Eve that they can eat from any tree in the garden except from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  What happens?  Right away we see Satan at work through the serpent telling Eve to go ahead, take a bite of the fruit, nothing bad will happen.  Eve eventually gives in to her desire and eats some of the fruit, then gives some to Adam.  Of course, the Creator will find out about this, and trouble will surely ensue for young Adam and Eve.

The Creator wants to know why?  Why would you do this when I told you not to? 

Like my son’s response when I asked the same question Adam says, “Eve made me do it!”.  Eve says, “the serpent made me do it!”  Punishment follows.

Would the punishment have been as severe if Adam and Eve had stepped up and took ownership of their mistake, maybe saying something like “I ate the fruit, I am sorry, please forgive me for my mistake?”  As we know, the Creator is a very forgiving parent.  But part of having a healthy relationship means we need to take responsibility, to take accountability and admit we made a mistake and ask for forgiveness. 

It’s a lesson I shared with my sons back then and that we all still need today.  Satan, the snake, is alive and active inside of us today, doing untold damage everyday under our noses and we don’t see it.  Satan is at work through our ego.  We see it in the garden when Eve is convinced, she should eat the fruit because it is something she desired and wanted.  For us, it is the me-first must have the newest shiniest thing at all cost mentality. We hurt others to get ahead, often so blinded by our own desires that we don’t see we have hurt someone.  It is not too late for us.

This week, I think that I need to stop and take a moment to look inside and examine my behavior.  I need to ask, who do I need to ask forgiveness from and how can I stop the snake inside me from growing. 

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