Stop pointing the finger at others – look in the mirror

“They (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, Where are you?10 And he said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?12 The man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, What is this that you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

From the beginning the art of blaming someone else for our mistakes has been within our nature. We feel shamed when we sin and go against God and therefore look to alleviate the blame and guilt by pointing the finger at someone else. Instead of pointing to Eve, Adam should have taken responsibility for not watching over and protecting Eve when the serpent was tempting her. He chose to sit by and allow Eve to take the fruit and even accept it from her. Men… God has given us the responsibility to watch over our families, serving them as Christ served and loved the Church (Eph 5:22-33). God will hold us accountable. Notice God first approached Adam, and not Eve, even though it was Eve who was tempted and took the fruit.

Then Eve was quick to point the finger at the serpent. If it wasn’t for the serpent she never would’ve been enticed! It’s his fault! Eve still had a choice to obey God and not eat from the tree. Instead she chose to do it her way.

God would not have a bar of their excuses and as a result of their disobedience, humanity was bound by death, the penalty for our sin.

The gospel message demands that we face the consequences for our sins. It was because of our sin that Christ had to die for us. We can’t blame Adam and Eve for being seduced in the beginning. We choose to go against God all on our own. We must take responsibility for our choice not to obey what God has instructed us. Only when we repent and accept our need for the cleansing blood sacrifice of Jesus will we be redeemed before God, cleaned of shame and guilt.

The gospel message also challenges us in how we look at others given our sinfulness and struggles. No one has any right to look down on or belittle another person, whether they are a Christian or not, given our own sinful depravity. We may do this openly or privately in our thoughts and attitudes towards those around us. We should not look on others in a disgusted manner for sinful struggles, otherwise we are in danger of forgetting how much we too struggle in certain areas in our lives.   If we don’t think we are struggling to some degree, then we are either not being obedient to Christ or are in complete denial/ignorance of our state before God (1 John 1:8). We need to repent and be reminded that it’s only by God’s mercy that we have a right standing with Him. Just as God has granted us His mercy, we too need to extend that mercy to others, patiently and sensitively enduring their struggles with them (Gal 6:1-2).

It’s easy for some Christians to become proud over the years and think they have ‘earned’ the right to speak down to others or be “above reproach” from some so called less mature Christians. It’s easy to think that by our perceived persistent obedience we have earned the right to have special favour in God’s eyes and expect others to see us in a more godly light. If that is in our hearts then clearly we haven’t matured at all. We never earn the right to be an influence for God, it’s by His gracious hand that He chooses to use us to encourage, build up, challenge and help others to know Him more. And we must always do so being sensitive to where others are at, as well as always keeping an eye in the mirror (Matt 7:1-5). A good sign of maturity and humility in ourselves is how willing and eager we are to learn and mature in our faith, even when it comes from the most unlikely places. God has a funny way of humbling us all in order to help us mature in our faith and enjoy a richer relationship with Him.

So let’s not allow our hearts to become critical; knit-picking at the slightest error our brothers and sisters may commit. Let’s not forget that we are all sinful before God, and that it’s only by His mercy we are right with Him. Let’s extend that mercy to others. Sure we need to correct at times and watch out for each other, but we are to do it out of a desire to see them grow in their faith, not to be cut down. There are constructive and destructive ways to correct others. We need to allow God’s mercy to permeate through our mind, heart and attitude in how we deal with others, never forgetting how much we all need God’s mercy in our own lives.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”