The Fall of Man, Part One

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’

Genesis 3:12-13

It’s always hard, returning to Eden. I cannot read these two primeval verses without being simply undone. In all the beauty and beguilement that was going on in this moment still fresh with dew, the man and the woman fessed up; they both said “I ate.” Was there a little hem haw at first? Sure, but c’mon, let’s cut our parents a little slack. After a slight pause they came clean, both of them. Now maybe the writer of Genesis was compressing time and the whole scene actually lasted hours with God playing good cop/bad cop with those two and they finally, finally broke. But taking the verses as they come, it appears they shot straight in record time. As the father of three and the son of two, I find this behavior quite noble. Does Genesis 3 tell of the great Fall? Yes, but that is not all.

Lent is often referred to as days of bright sadness. My experience with this season so far is that it is much easier to be sad than bright. We, the people can give the pigs a run for their money in the game of wallowing. Yes, it is a season for mourning, for taking a look at the stains on our fingers, stains that never ever occur in a vacuum. But that is not all, for in those moments lie the seeds of something else if we’re willing to take and plant.

Joan Didion once wrote, “The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” Our ancestors in Genesis accepted responsibility for their lives; they said “I did it.” Lent provides us that same opportunity which, if taken, results in the virtue known as self-respect. Verily, verily I say this is something much different than self-esteem. Self-respect fashions a man or woman as noble. Not proud, but noble.

I believe there was a Lenten whisper in the margins of Genesis 3, an audible brightness just after verses 12 and 13. It came from the sad Father’s lips: “Well done.” It is still whispered today.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: In addition to the good Father, what other people need to hear you say “I did it”? Start close in, with those closest to you, those we so often hurt. What would it take to begin seeing those confessions as the springs of self-respect? Consider writing them down in a journal with a star beside them or sharing them with a trusted friend who can encourage you with “Well done.”

PRAYER: Our Father who is always near, give us the courage to come clean in this season, and each time surround us with your mercy so that we might then rise to walk nobly as the sons and daughters of God. Amen.

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