Monday, 3 December 2012

December 3rd - Fall of Man

Fall of Man

Forbidden Fruit
Forbidden Fruit
Whether we believe that Adam and Eve were real people, or representations of the whole human race, we cannot deny that somehow sin entered the world. The first people on earth disobeyed God, and everybody since has followed in their footsteps. From a very young age the forbidden is attractive. My fifteen month old daughter will approach the coffee table and look at me, shaking her head, before putting her hand on the mug that was supposed to be out of her reach. She knows she's not supposed to, but goes for it anyway.

Just as a child's bad behaviour is often blamed upon their parents, we blame our distant ancestors for eating the forbidden fruit and unlocking the pathway to disobedience. But the truth is that we are all responsible for our own behaviour. When I am tired I find it much harder to be patient. I'm tired all the time at the moment - sleep is hard to come by with my little monkey-child! So when I get angry and swear at my husband, it's very easy for me to blame it on my tiredness. However, though being tired might well be the reason for my behaviour, it isn't an excuse. There is no excuse for falling short of the glory of God, but each and every one of us do fall short. Just like Adam and Eve, in Genesis 3:1-24, we blame it on our situation, on someone else, on events.

My daughter's Storybook Bible makes a point that I had never thought of: "Not only did they disobey God, they didn't even say they were sorry." How often do we refuse to take responsibility for our bad behaviour? How often do we neglect apologies? Confession is good for the soul. James 5:16 tells us to "confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so you may be healed." This is definitely something I neglect to do. Oh, I confess other people's sins. I'm very good at pointing out where everyone else has gone wrong, but appallingly bad at pointing out my own faults.

Aren't we all destined to fall short though? Our parents sinned; our grandparents sinned; our great-grandparents sinned. What hope do we have?

Look forward. Christmas is coming. God will be made man. We will celebrate the birth of the second Adam. Jesus had the opportunity and the ability to disobey God, just as we do, but where Adam failed to live up to God's high standards, Jesus was successful. He resisted temptation, He obeyed God's law, He fulfilled the covenant. And because Jesus was without sin, He was able to be our perfect sacrifice, able to take our sins upon Himself so that we might once again approach God and walk with Him in Paradise.

As we approach Christmas, let us find a way of confessing our sins and seeking forgiveness. I intend to go to Confession with a priest - something I haven't done in a very long time. Perhaps you have a good friend or a prayer partner who you can talk to and who will pray for you. It's not vital to tell another person - you can speak directly to our Father in Heaven - but sometimes we need the reassurance of forgiveness that only a tangible person can give us, guiding us to bible verses, or prayers, and reminding us that God forgives us and loves us even when we do wrong.

Let us pray with the words from the Storybook Bible: "Dear God, help me to do what is right and to remember you love me even when I do wrong."

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