This week’s blog is based on the book of Genesis chapter 3:12. While there are seemingly a multitude of life lessons we could discuss this week from this passage, there is one that feels especially heavy on my heart, and it will be the focus topic for this week’s blog. To give a little background knowledge, Adam and Eve had just disobeyed God. In the garden they were free to eat from any tree they desired except one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had given specific instructions regarding this tree. He said, “If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (NLT) Adam and Eve found themselves in a mess because they had just violated the sole restriction God placed on them in the garden: they had eaten from the tree of which He told them, “You may not eat.”
Until this point, mankind had communed in the garden with God openly and freely. Now something was wrong. The relationship man had with God had been negatively impacted. Fellowship gave way to fear. The Bible says, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He replied, ‘I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ The Lord God asked. ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
If I could paraphrase what Adam was saying, it might sound something like this, “Yes Lord, I did disobey you, but it was not my fault. This woman whom You put here with me, she was the one who gave me the fruit, and that is why I ate it. Now we are in this big mess; my relationship with you is horribly impacted; I am suffering from a distorted image of myself, and living in fear of punishment from you, and it is all because of this woman you gave me.”
Although that may sound funny, it is actually very serious. One of the issues that we often deal with in the midst of the breakdown of any significant life relationship is that of guilt, self blame and condemnation. When Adam indicated Eve as the sole reason for why he had eaten the fruit, he was in fact indicating her as the primary reason for all that had transpired. The words he spoke were not only spoken in the presence of God, they were spoken in the presence of Eve. Adam blamed his wife for the mess in which they found themselves. I wonder to what extent Eve blamed herself? Without a doubt this affected every aspect of her life.
Was there a large level of responsibility that Eve needed to own in this situation? Absolutely, there is no doubt about that. The problem was not that Eve was held partly responsible on the part of Adam. Indeed, she should have been. What was problematic was that Adam held Eve wholly responsible. And that is the topic of our discussion this week. Far too many women are carrying what is not theirs to own. As a result, we are struggling with depression, self-hatred, guilt, fear and anxiety to name a few. Others may try to hand you the responsibility for their life situation, but you do not have to own it. This is one of the life lessons that God is teaching me.
At times, I have blamed myself for my own life situation, as well as others, be it previous situations in my marriage or in the lives of my children or something else. Adam was not in that situation because of Eve. He was in that situation because of himself. Eating the fruit from the tree of which God told him not to eat, was not Eve’s fault. It was his own. If you are in this place today, God wants to set you free from guilt, self-blame and condemnation. Long-term, these are toxic mindsets and emotions. They are a hindrance to life and well-being. Stop carrying what does not belong to you. It is healthy to take responsibility for the life mistakes you may have made; we all should, but it is not your responsibility to carry what is not yours to own. Take responsibility for your own actions, and allow others to do the same.
May God richly bless you this week. May His peace and love be with you and upon you.
This week’s readings:
- Genesis chapter 3
- Psalms 103:12
- Isaiah 43:25
If you have been encouraged in any way by what you have read, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.