Lately I´ve been thinking a lot about the results of the sin of Adam and Eve aka ´The Fall´. It was no small thing that. Because they thought that their way would be better than the way God had laid out for them, because they thought they should be the ones in control of their lives, because they wanted to be the ones to call the shots we now live in a broken world. We each are born into broken relationship with God who created us and loves us more than we could ever comprehend. Sin entering our world affected us more than I think we realize. It affected our thinking. It affected our being. It affected everything we know and even things that we don´t know or realize.
I recently read a book that talks about our ´life-boat´ mentality. The phrase comes from a discussion that many kids have in schools these days. Maybe in school you had some of these discussions about people´s worth. It goes something like this: Suppose there is a lifeboat that only had room for 5 people and there were six people in it...a little 6 year old boy, a stay at home mom, a female doctor, a male lawyer, a male teacher, a 25 year old woman with Downs Syndrome or some such group as that. If one was not thrown overboard then all would die. Who would you choose to be thrown overboard? The idea that all people are equal because they are made in God´s image rarely if ever comes up. Usually the class has no problem picking people that have value and those who do not. Even if they struggle a bit with it they end up picking someone to throw overboard. That is because this is how we live our everyday lives. We live as though some people are more valuable than others and of course we want to be the ones with more value. Therefore we need to prove we are worth something. We want to show that we deserve to be in the lifeboat. We go about comparing ourselves to one another. If someone says or thinks they are better than me it can make me frustrated or angry or even sad because in my ´lifeboat mentality´ they might take my place. I have to prove I deserve to stay in the lifeboat.
But, what if we are valuable just because God made us and because He loves us? What kind of world would it be if we all got our sense of worth from God? What if we didn´t need to compare to one another? What if I didn´t need to show myself to be better than you? I could just love you for who you are without judgment. I could do my best to meet your needs and help you because you aren´t a threat to me. My desire would be to do whatever I could to build you up. Sounds like paradise to me. Sounds like the kingdom of heaven that Jesus talked about.
Before the fall Adam and Eve lived in total harmony with God. The Bible tells us they were naked and unashamed, but this was lost after the fall. After they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they became ashamed of who they were. They no longer were in a perfect relationship with God receiving all they needed from Him. They were separated from God. Their relationship was broken. Because of this they now felt the need to blame others in order to appear better than someone else (Eve in Adam´s case) or something else (the serpent in Eve´s case) and the comparisons and ´life boat´ mentality began.
What if part of our being ´fallen´ means that we are going around trying to be loved and respected by other people instead of getting our love and acceptance from being in a perfect relationship with God? The fall really messed us up. We are missing the part (the perfect relationship with God) that made us know in the core of our being that we are valuable, so now we spend most of our time trying to prove to ourselves and to the world that we are good enough, smart enough, talented enough, worthy enough to be loved.
I am so glad that Jesus came to restore us back to that perfect relationship with God. He came so that we could once again know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. Real love. Love not based on anything that I do. How different is that kind of love that the kind that is offered to us in this world? The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus. NOTHING I can do can make Him stop loving me. He loves us not because of anything we do, but just because He wants to.
So how come I still go around trying to prove myself worthy of that love? How come so many people feel like they have to show God by their good works that He got a good deal when He chose them? How come we set up laws and rules that look like those of every other religion? Ways to be acceptable in God´s sight. How come we think some people are holier than others? Closer to God? More important in the kingdom? How come we base so much on people´s actions and judge them by what they do and what they don´t do? Isn´t this what the Pharisees did? We are not called to actions or works, we are called to a restored relationship with God.
These days I find myself longing more and more for the old Garden of Eden or better yet for the New Kingdom. Longing for a time with no lifeboats. Where there is room for all. Acceptance for all. Isn´t that what Jesus taught? For now while I still live in this fallen world I must focus on finding my acceptance in my Beloved so that I will be able to forget as best as I can about me. Only then will I be able to really love and unconditionally accept those whom God has called me to serve.
I realize this is a bit of a ramble and I hope that you are able to make some sense of it. Just sharing a few things on my heart.