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By: Larry Shaffer
The beloved Richard Rawson is retiring as President of Insperity this month. Richard is a warm, vibrant and gracious man who has always supported my career and encouraged me along the way! Love you Richard and all my best to you and Dawn!
Adam and Eve have sinned. They immediately exhibit the human tendencies of sin that are still so common to all of us today. Warning: the following may look all too familiar!
1) First comes regret. In the moment before the sin, we see all the upside. There are thoughts of ‘this is probably wrong, but it looks so good.’ “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took the fruit and ate.” But almost immediately afterwards, the upside turned up-side down. They were immediately ashamed and filled with regret. The awareness of their nakedness was the symbol of their shame.
2) They hid themselves from God. “The man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of The Lord God among the trees of the garden.” We know God is everywhere but, nevertheless, we hide ourselves from the presence of The Lord God. We do not want to consciously deal with God. We do not like the thought of looking into His eyes and Him looking into ours. We hide but the Lord calls out “where are you?” That was His call to Adam and Eve and that’s what He whispers to us as well when we are hiding from Him. Take a few moments to read Psalms 139:1-12. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”
3) Excuses come before repentance. They hid because they were naked. God asked them “who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree?” Here is their opportunity to repent and experience the forgiveness and restoration of God’s presence. What do they do? Pretty much the same that we do. “The man said, the woman Whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” The woman said, “the serpent deceived me and I ate.” As humans, motive is important to us. We want to know the “why” of why people do things. So, it is counter-intuitive to us to just immediately repent and tell God, ‘I sinned.’ Period. We want to give the excuse. God doesn’t need the excuse. Restoration begins with repentance.
The pattern is pretty much the same for us as with Adam and Eve. During the decision process, we justify the sin and see the upside. What follows is regret, hiding and excuses. Lord, the shame and regret can be a good thing. When we lose that we are left with a calloused conscience. So, we are thankful for the regret but it’s the responses afterwards that we need Your help with. May we seek You rather than hide and may we humbly bow and confess instead of making excuses. And may our confession be filled with a sincere desire to avoid such sins in the future. May we draw near to You always and be transparent and honest. Praise You and thank You for it is Your nature to forgive and restore. Amen!