2nd December – Genesis 3:8-15
Most of us I imagine have been there when a spat has blown up between two children, and it can go something like this: ‘Well he started it!’ ‘No. I didn’t, she hit me first’. Adam also tried to pass the buck, and even hinted that God was to blame in the first place. But whose fault was it? And does it matter? As I was chewing this over, a leaflet from the NSPCC came through the door. It showed the picture of a small, very forlorn child, saying, ‘It’s all my fault’. It made me think that the consequences of sin in both cases are similar.
Shame – The child who has been mis-used feels so ashamed. Adam too was so ashamed that he hid from God.
Separation and Fear – The child feels lonely and afraid. Adam, who had shared his life in the garden with God, and walked and talked with him now avoided God, saying: ‘I was afraid’.
Trust is broken – The child feels that even if he tells, no-one will believe him. He trusts no-one and life can become intolerable. Adam could no longer live in the presence of God, living became a chore and discovered not only was there a rift between him and God, but also with his partner and the rest of creation. We can exist like this, but is it life? All, however, is not lost. We have the hint here that this craftiest of creatures has already been dealt a death-blow to the head, as God’s plan to restore the relationship with Adam, is put into action.
Forgiveness – There can be healing for the abused child but it can be a long and painful process and it probably involves the ability to forgive at some level. But in the end he has to say ‘It’s not my fault’. God‘s part in the restoration plan certainly was painful as Jesus went to the cross taking the blame and shame for all our sin. It’s forgiveness that makes healing stick. When we can say ‘It is my fault’, ‘I have sinned’ then we can take the gift of forgiveness in both hands and a new dimension of life is opened up to us. Whose fault it is does matter if we want to benefit from being forgiven.
Pray for the NSPCC who seek to educate children, to listen to and counsel those who have been mis-used, abused and not listened to. Almighty God, by the power of your Holy Spirit open our eyes, ears, hearts and lives to your presence, so that today we may worship and serve you in faithfulness, be a blessing and healing reminder of your love to all whose lives we touch. In the name of Christ, Amen.