The Irish poet and play writer, Oscar Wilde once said:
“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you place the blame.”
- Strange isn’t it, that if you catch a child hitting her baby sister, her response will almost certainly be something like, “But she hit me first”.
- If you ask your family, “Who left the toilet seat down?” You get answers like: “I haven’t used the toilet today.” And another, ” I haven’t used it for three days.”
- If a man smokes three packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years and dies of lung cancer, he blames the tobacco company.
- If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, he blames his nagging wife.
- If the grandchildren are without manners, we blame the television.
Have you noticed that you and I are skilled at shifting blame on to others? Everything is always someone else’s fault. Ever since the Garden of Eden, it’s been human nature, to look around for someone to blame. We all know how Adam blamed God and Eve; and Eve blamed the serpent. It’s the blame syndrome; it’s part of the sinful nature in you and me.
The title Genesis means ‘beginnings’, and this book is the Bible’s book of beginnings. The Bible records for us the beginning of the world, the beginning of the human life, and the beginnings of marriage and family life.
- Genesis chapter 1 & 2 reveal that Adam and Eve lived in a peaceful garden, that in the beginning, there was harmony between the couple.
- But in Genesis 3, we read how these two human beings being were tempted by Satan.
- God had given the couple freedom to choose, and they made a deliberate and fatal choice to sin.
- As a result of their fatal choice, they had to face personal consequences for their sin.
- In addition, their disobedience corrupted the human race, and the consequences of sin affected the entire human race.
- And from this point on, the couple’s innocence and harmony were shattered.
- And when God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin, the couple responded by blaming God, blaming each other, and blaming Satan.
FEAR CAN MAKE US FLEE
I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid:
This is the first instance, when we read of fear in the Bible. Fear is an emotion that can produce a feeling of terror. Now the cause of Adam and Eve’s emotion was not due to a terrorist attack, or a tsunami, but they feared because they had sinned, against God. And so when they heard God’s voice, their first impulse was to hide, as Adam was afraid of God’s presence and God’s voice.
Now this was a shocking reaction from Adam. The man who had walked and talked with God, and personally experienced God’s love, now became aware of his guilt and runs away from God, and tries to hide from God.
Sin caused the first couple to lose the intimacy they had enjoyed with God.
- May be business has resulted in tiredness to be spiritually intimate.
- Or hidden anger, baggage and resentment has put out the spiritual fires out.
So, if you have lost the spiritual intimacy, you once enjoyed with God, flee back to God, rather than flee away from God.
SIN CAN CAUSE US SHAME
Who told you (or, informed you) that you (were) naked?
God asked Adam as to who explained or revealed to him the information which they had not known before, that they did not have outer clothing. Now before Adam and Eve fell into sin, the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. But after their fall into sin, they looked at each other with ‘new eyes’. They had lost their moral innocence.
Now they felt ashamed of their nakedness that they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. In addition, the Bible reveals that the entrance of sin not only impacted Adam and Eve’s relationship with God, but also affected their relationship with each other. Sin had wrecked their marriage and family life as well.
Personal failures such as addictions, bankruptcy or marital unfaithfulness, creates a distancing with our spouse and with God, due to feeling shame. So, we try to cover our shame with ‘man-made fig leaves’ such as psychology. However, shame can be covered only through God’s forgiveness. Because God forgives, we can be forgiven, and our guilt and shame can be removed, through the cross.
DISOBEDIENCE MAKES US DISREGARD GOD’S COMMANDS
Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you, that you should not eat from?
In Genesis 2: 16 – 17; God had warned Adam that while he may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden he was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
So, when Eve consumed the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which God had commanded that they should not eat from, they sinned against God. So, this wasn’t primarily a wardrobe problem, or a fear problem, but a sin problem.
Like Eve’s fatal attraction, today we live in a sex saturated culture! Fatal attractions in magazines, movie adds on TV, day time soap operas, Hollywood films, music lyrics, internet pornography etc. arouses our sexual urges and stimulates our desires. Yet, we must never forget that the Bible states that sex apart from marriage is sinful. So, fornication (or, sex before marriage), adultery (or, sex outside marriage), and lust, must be confessed and given up, as such sins affect our spirituality with God and our marriage relationship.
BREAKDOWN IN GOD’S BLUEPRINT
And the man said (or answered):
Notice that to this point, God has not addressed Eve at all. Adam, being the head, was the problem here. He had remained silent and had not protested when Eve believed that God was a liar and had reached out to the enticing fruit.
There is a Spanish proverb that states: ‘Woe to the house where the hen crows and the cock keeps quiet’. Adam failed when he did not communicate God’s words to his wife at a time when she most needed to hear it most. Next, the man too eats of the fruit and together with the woman go their own way, disregarding God who had given them life.
God has appointed the husband with the responsibility of leadership in the marriage. Now this does not mean that the man is superior to the woman, as both husband and wife are equal in the sight of God. In Ephesians 5, while stating that the husband is the head, Paul is quick to describe headship as ‘loving leadership’ and not dictatorship, like a military Commander who shouts orders to his family! Husbands are appointed as servant-leaders who imitate Christ.
BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS WHEN WE BLAME
The woman whom You gave (to be) with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate:
The man replied, that the woman God had handed over to him (or put there with him) to be his wife and companion, had given him some of the fruit of the tree and he had eaten it. So, instead of blaming himself for his sin, when God asked him about his sin, Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit; and blames God, for placing the woman in the garden. In addition, in verse 13, Eve too, blames the serpent.
Often, we too find it difficult to take responsibility for our own actions. Sin makes us blame others for our weaknesses, or, blame someone else for our circumstances.
The only way that we can keep our relationship with God and with each other pure, is to accept responsibility for our sins and our failures, and confess to God as David did, saying, ‘I have sinned against the LORD’ (2 Samuel 12:13).
Likewise, in order to build or maintain a healthy and intimate marriage, we must stop finger pointing or blaming each other as blaming fails to resolve conflicts.